September is just around the corner (didn’t it just feel like May?) and if you’re like me, you may not be in full back to school mode, but you’re certainly considering that this month holds a lot of shopping ahead, whether you do it all in one weekend or piece by piece as the weeks go by. There’s no denying that back to school shopping takes a hit on family finances, so how does one get through August and September without going into debt? It’s all about smart planning and not making impulse buys.
Here are my tips for frugal back to school shopping. No, you can’t avoid buying the clothing and school supplies but you certainly can be smart(er) about it!
Plan Your Shopping
Don’t plan your shopping day based on the weather or the day that your child has a surprise playdate invite. Plan a specific shopping day ahead of time and then do your research!
Flipp is a free app that brings you local flyers, coupons and an interactive shopping list right to your phone so you can plan your shop and find the best deals on everything you need for back-to-school. If it’s school supplies you’re looking for, for example, browse the flyers from your favorite retailers and compare prices before even leaving the house.
Make sure you download the app in the App Store or Google Play Store now, before you plan your shopping! You can also visit Flipp.com for more info.
Now, what if the majority of your list is on sale at one store, but a few odds and ends are indeed less expensive at another store. Do you drive there? Oh heck no! This is when you utilize the promise that many stores make professing their prices to be the cheapest. Walmart, for example, does Price Matching. So, simply bring in a flyer – or your Flipp App proudly displaying the flyer on your phone – and Walmart will match the price for you, saving you time and money. The list above shares other stores that you may find yourself in back to school shopping that do indeed price match. Don’t be intimidated, the policy is there as a way to entice shoppers, so why not be a savvy shopper?
Be A Coupon Queen (Or King!)
Despite what some of the extreme-coupon TV shows share, you won’t become a hoarder with a bunker full of product by using coupons (Canadian retailers have much different rules when it comes to coupon-stacking and other techniques used in the US) but you will save money with very minimal effort.
Flipp App now has coupons as well (it just keeps getting better and better!) Simply select the coupon, the store you purchased (or plan to purchase) the item from, and upload your receipt for an instant rebate. Or, clip the coupon virtually and print to take to the store with you.
There are a few websites where you can always find great coupons as well – look for coupons at pgeveryday.ca and save.ca to start! These have both been great resources for me for years. I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for laundry detergent in the past decade!
Pay Attention At The Till
A great deal is only a deal if you actually pay the correct price. Scanning errors happen every day in Canada and we all have overpaid at the till without realizing it. Did you know, if an item scans for more than the advertised price or price on the shelf YOU could walk away with it for free? It’s true! SCOP (Scanning Code of Practice) is a program that select stores voluntarily participate in to help give consumers peace of mind knowing they WANT their scanners to be accurate at the til, because otherwise it’s their loss – you can get that item for free (if it’s under $10) or at a $10 discount (if the item is over $10). Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It’s not, it just takes effort on your part as the consumer to be aware and ask for that discount. A list of participants in the Scanning Code of Practice can be found at the link. I’ve used it at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and Superstore many times!
Look For Bonus Offers
Some stores will offer an incentive to purchase a certain amount of product. The Children’s Place and Old Navy, for example, regularly has a Cash Back promotion where you’re given in-store dollars to spend at a later date. Premium Label Outlet is currently offering customers a free backpack of their choice when they spend $200 in store.
Here’s my segment this week with Global Regina where I shared these tips and more!
— Global Regina (@GlobalRegina) August 9, 2017
Another tip, and something that worked well for me and really catapulted me to starting this blog is: enter contests and giveaways! Free is always the best! In that spirit, I’ve teamed up with FLIPP to offer readers the chance to win an awesome backpack with some supplies inside AND a $100 Mastercard Gift Card to help in your Back To School shopping! Simply submit your name and email address in the form below to get started and check out all the bonus entries! You can get a bonus entry, for example, just for following Flipp App on Facebook!