13 Serious Ways to Save on Back-to-School Spending and 8 Top Destinations

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Each year’s back-to-school shopping season acts like a mini-Christmas and mini-holiday season in August for retailers. While it is a fraction of total retail versus the holidays, the wave of spending for the kids is the second largest spending event each year. Back-to-school spending adds up to roughly Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Easter combined. And back-to-school spending is expected to rise 2016. All this adds up to thinking about ways to save being as more important than ever.

24/7 Wall St. has provided 13 tips for back-to-school savings with very specific ways to save money specific to the year 2016. We have also included eight specific companies for savings that were seen in the last week of July, but there are actually many other stores mentioned.

Have you heard “a dollar saved is a dollar earned” before? An important consideration is that there are more than just a couple of ways to save money on your back-to-school needs. If you want a one-stop shop, chances are it will cost more for the convenience. If you are willing to do your homework and drive around, you may save more (but you have to add in the cost of gas and hope not to get backed into in the parking lots).

One admission that is obvious is that many more back-to-school savings deals have yet to be announced. Discount stores rule the roost in back-to-school spending, but mail and newspapers are still a major source for advertising and discounts (and coupons). Deals can be found online and at in-store offerings. And don’t forget about all those apps.

Most back-to-school spending will still be in stores in 2016, but some sources are predicting over one-third of spending will be online (just like Christmas in August!). 24/7 Wall St. is more focused on the broader retail aspect of how to save money, but there are many other ways to save.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its top trends for 2016 back-to-school and college shopping. The NRF’s data projects that total spending will reach $75.8 billion this year, and the per-student spending will rise to $673.57 in 2016 from $630.36 in 2015.

The Census Bureau showed the total number of students in America as 77.2 million, based on its 2014 estimates, counting those from nursery school to college. Of that total, some 48.3 million were counted in the fall enrollment for elementary and secondary public school systems in 2013. The Census Bureau also noted that the average amount of current spending per elementary and secondary public school student was $11,009 in 2014.

Clothing and shoes and electronics eat up the bulk of back-to-school retail spending dollars for most families. You can still spend endlessly on school supplies if you are not careful.

24/7 Wall St. has featured eight of the top stores and online destinations specifically for back-to-school sales and deals. These are directly linked to each. After the stores are 13 broader ways that parents and kids alike can find ways to think of broader ongoing back-to-school savings.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer. It has been known for low prices for decades now. The Wal-Mart back-to-school section has endless offerings in backpacks, clothing, school supplies, electronics and more.

Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) may not be thought of as your first place to get back-to-school deals, but those going off to college will all need or want new computers. Maybe it’s a laptop these days rather than a desktop, or maybe it is a tablet with a keyboard attachment that converts it basically into a laptop. Best Buy has a “sign up for college student deals” in its Student Hub section.

Office Depot Inc. (NASDAQ: ODP) has targeted back-to-school sales from the top down by targeting teachers. Sadly, teachers often spend their own money out of their own pockets for additional supplies or things for their classrooms. Office Depot has offered educators with a 25% discount during Teacher Appreciation Days in its stores from July 30 to August 2 and from August 27 to August 30. It is also offering a VIP savings card with additional savings through October 31. The normal back-to-school section of its site also shows its weekly deals.

Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) might not be able to merge with Office Depot, so it wants to be aggressive too. The back-to-school section of its site talks about lists and lowest prices, and they even offer a 110% Lowest Price Guarantee and features its weekly hottest in-store offers to drive you to the stores.

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) has many back-to-school offerings, for savings on backpacks and lunch bags, saving up to 15% on school supplies, and savings on Cat & Jack kids’ clothing (Target exclusive). Target also has a school list assistance site for all the school supplies.