3 back-to-school budget hacks to save you money

(BPT) – Many parents have already started back-to-school shopping, and parents preparing for fall are planning to spend $917 per child, on average, according to a June 2016 Rubicon Project Back-to-School Consumer Pulse survey. Whether Mom and Dad are sending their first kid to kindergarten or moving one into the college dorm, here are three budget hacks to save money using gift cards:

Wardrobe refresh: From elementary school through college, shopping for new clothes and shoes is a back-to-school tradition. Thirty percent of parents plan to do at least a quarter of their shopping online, but before hitting the “checkout” button, open a new tab and look for discounts. Sites like CouponCabin.com often house coupon codes for popular retailers, and leveraging a gift card exchange site, like Cardpool.com which buys pre-owned gift cards and sells them at a discount, allows parents to stack savings.

Supply shopping: Whether it’s notebooks and pens or PCs and phones, the needs, costs and options for school-age kids vary greatly. Busy parents can save money on supplies without the need to plan ahead by utilizing free mobile apps. Target’s Cartwheel app and Cardpool’s mobile app — both available in the iTunes store — specialize in spontaneous saving. While in Target, for example, parents can scan product barcodes in Cartwheel to find coupons. Likewise, using Cardpool’s mobile app, parents can save up to 35 percent on purchases at popular back-to-school retailers, including Walmart, Target and even Best Buy, simply by searching the app for discounted gift cards that can be used in-store or online.

College prep: Sending a child off to college and on their own for the first time can be expensive. Not including costs of tuition, books and housing, costs can add up when decorating a dorm room, updating a wardrobe and even buying groceries as a first-time adult. Not only does Cardpool sell gift cards at a discount, but the trusted exchange service purchases unwanted gift cards for up to 92 percent cash back. Raiding junk drawers or scouring old wallets for gift cards to sell may be the answer to sending kids off to college with a little extra money.

Bonus tip for bonus cash: Cashback sites are a simple idea. Instead of visiting retail sites directly, parents can register with a cashback website, like TopCashBack.com, and click through to retailer sites from there to earn money on purchases.

At every age and grade, these hacks are guaranteed to save money in preparation for kids’ return to the classroom.

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