4 Effortless Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

The summer flies. With all of our vacation plans and summer camps for the kids, we will be prepping for back-to-school shopping again before we know it. If just the thought of that makes you tired, here are some very easy things you can do now to save money, time, and effort on buying new clothes and school supplies for the kiddos. (See also: Save Hundreds on Back to School Shopping with These Credit Card Tricks)

Get your list together now

The worst thing to do is to go shopping without a list, or while you're stressed. It leads to overspending and impulse buying. This goes for back-to-school shopping as much as it goes for grocery shopping.

Take a little time this summer to dig through the closets. What needs to be donated? What can be fixed up with a little mending? Take a look at what remains, and make your list from there. This way you can keep an eye out during the remaining summer months for any deals, and pace your spending without feeling panicked. (See also: 6 Back-to-School Shopping Hacks for Big Savings)

Get Honey

Honey is a browser extension that compiles discount codes and coupons while you're shopping online that apply directly to the items you're buying with one simple click. It's easy to use, free, and a snap to install. (See also: These Apps and Extensions Find Online Deals for You — Automatically)

Keep tabs on Amazon with Keepa

If you're a loyal Amazon shopper, Keepa is your shopping buddy. This browser extension easily helps you track the prices of items on Amazon and provides an opportunity to set up alerts and notifications for price drops on items that interest you. By setting up Keepa now, you'll be several steps ahead when back-to-school shopping arrives. You'll also be confident that you're getting the best prices.

Cash in on your credit card rewards

Credit card companies love when you use your points to buy gift cards. They get them at a discounted rate from retailers because they buy in bulk, and they pass on a portion of that savings to you. This means you pay below face value for the gift cards when you use your credit card points to buy them. Sometimes that savings is very significant — as much as a 50 percent discount off the face value.

If there are specific stores where you know you'll do your back-to-school shopping, get their gift cards through your credit card rewards program to get the best deal. (See also: The Best Credit Cards for Back to School Shopping)

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