The lazy days of summer are in full swing … which can only mean one thing.
Back-to-school shopping—the second-biggest retail season—is officially underway.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average family plans to spend around $630 for electronics, apparel and other necessities this school season.
That’s right—we’re talking some serious cash.
6 Money-Saving Back-to-School Calculators
And if you’re like most harried parents, you’ll probably just end up heading to a big-box store at the last minute to pick up everything at once—and be done with it.
Or you could do your homework and get better bang for your back-to-school spending buck by being a bit more strategic.
Case in point: Many states have tax-free shopping days (see this handy chart) that coincide with back-to-school shopping season.
So to help set you up, and your budget, for success, we’ve created a week-by-week buying guide in the countdown to September. With this game plan, you’ll be able to spread your spending across several paychecks—while also nabbing the best deals.
What to Buy the First Week of August
Set your sights on … Big-ticket computer and tech items
Why now? According to Brent Shelton, an online shopping expert and author of a monthly “when to shop” newsletter for FatWallet.com, back-to-school sales on laptops and tablets trump even those offered on Black Friday.
To get a retail advantage … Check to see if you have an ID (student, teacher, military—anything!) that can help you score extra savings.
It’s also a good idea to kick off your back-to-school shopping by checking out sites like RetailMeNot, ShopSavvy, KrazyCouponLady and CouponCabin that scour the web looking for deals and coupons to use in-store and online.
Another savvy way to save? Download your favorite retailers’ apps, which often offer mobile-exclusive coupons. And consider signing up for their newsletters too—many will send discount codes to use while shopping and even texts with coupons.