John Sellers
Rewards Executive at Bank of America

John Sellers is the Rewards executive at Bank of America. In this role, John oversees all rewards programs, including consumer, wealth management and small business relationship rewards programs and credit card rewards redemption. Earlier this year, Newsweek ranked Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program as one of America’s Best Loyalty Programs. In 2020, Bank of America was named the Best Customer Loyalty Bank by The Motley Fool and recognized by Loyalty360 for its approach to building more robust and deeper loyalty with customers.

Prior to his current role, he led work in other product areas at Bank of America including Auto Lending, Merrill Edge and Credit Card. John is the architect of the award-winning Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card and led the effort to bring Chip technology to all Bank of America cards.

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4 Simple Strategies for Smart and Financially Rewarding Back-to-School Shopping

Follow these tips to spend smarter and maximize financial rewards

By John Sellers, Rewards Executive at Bank of America
Advertorial Disclosure

This is a sponsored post by Bank of America as part of Wise Bread's continued partnership with them.

Back-to-school season is going to look a little different for everyone this year. Some parents may not know yet if their children will be physically sitting in a classroom, learning in front of a computer in the dining room, or a combination of the two. No matter where our students learn this year, back-to-school shopping season is here. And recent data finds that you might be spending more than you anticipated.

According to a recent KPMG study, shoppers plan to spend $268 per child this year, up from $247 per student in 2020. To help save on costs, here are a few simple tips for your back-to-school shopping to maximize financial rewards along the way.

1. Shop at home first

Before you hit the stores, take inventory of what your kids have left over from the previous school year. You might be surprised to find unused notebooks and folders, as well as perfectly good scissors and rulers. if you invested in a quality backpack or lunchbox last year, they should still be in good condition to be reused for this school year. Your home office is another great place to repurpose materials.

If you’ve found enough supplies from last year’s stock to start the first few weeks of school, consider waiting to purchase the rest of your school supplies until they start to go on sale later in the fall. With some schools pushing back their start date, holding out for Labor Day weekend sales might be easier than past years.

2. Create a shopping list

After recycling what you can from last year, develop a shopping plan and budget for essentials. When shopping for younger students, don’t forget to account for things like a new calculator, planner, writing utensils, craft supplies for projects. If your child’s school sends a checklist of what they’ll need, wait for that to avoid buying items that won’t be needed or possibly even used throughout the school year.

Getting your child ready to go off to college? You’ll need to account for everything they may need from the classroom to their dorm room – this means your list could grow substantially as you help them gather bigger items like a laptop, fridge, bedding and more.

3. Sign up for loyalty programs ahead of time

To be the savviest back-to-school shopper, make sure you are signed up for retailer loyalty programs so you can maximize financial rewards on all your purchases, and you aren’t leaving any money on the table. Each provides its members with different, exclusive offers and special discounts that you don’t want to miss out on.

Or prefer to shop online? There are plenty of loyalty program benefits for online shopping including promotional codes, email coupons and of course, free shipping. This back-to-school season, most major retailers will provide online shoppers with curbside pickup options as well. If you’re shopping for several children, you can also buy in bulk to save money when you do your school shopping online.

And if you live in a state that offers sales tax holidays, find the dates and predetermine what products are eligible online. On these days, you can often pick up things like clothing, computers and school supplies tax-free.

4. Layer financial rewards programs together

Now that you’ve signed up to earn rewards at your favorite retailers, stacking them together with your banking rewards products can ultimately equal more lunch money back in your pocket. When you’ve finally made it to the check-out, remember to pay for your student’s back-to-school essentials with a rewards credit card that offers cash back on your purchases. And, by being a member of a banking loyalty program, you could boost your cash back even higher. Our Bank of America Preferred Rewards members receive a credit card rewards bonus on eligible cards of up to 5.25%, based on your membership tier, which adds up quickly. Finally, look into whether your credit card offers a special discounts program for another way to earn bonus cash back at a number of popular retailers through tailored offers that cardholders can activate.

The return to school is often overwhelming, so start planning now to eliminate added stress around shopping. Follow these four tips so you and your student can ace the back-to-school shopping experience!

For more information about the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program and its unique perks and benefits, check out bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC