Back to School, Back to Savings

Tips From Lisa Reynolds, RedPlum Mom Saver-in-Chief

1. Resist trends when it comes to staples

§ Stick with basic looks when buying the fashion staples (jeans, pants, T-shirts and sweaters), you may get a longer wear out of them — presuming your child doesn’t shoot up three inches a semester.

§ Even if they do grow quickly, non-trendy staples that can more easily be worn by a younger sibling three years later.

2. Indulge smartly in a couple trends (if your kids care)

§ Hair accessories or inexpensive jewelry for girls, socks and backpack patches for boys can be enough to make your child feel hip.

§ Identify the trends your kids think are cool by going through magazines together, then think creatively as a team and figure out how to add that trend (whether it’s a color, pattern or material) for under $20.

§ Make it a game, explaining why spending $50 on a gone-next-month trend is silly. And why it makes you all smarter as a family to accomplish the same goal (rocking that hot look for September) for less.

3. Meet as a family to make lists, which just like grocery shopping lists, keep you focused and on task.

§ Work together to make a shopping list for each family member heading back to school. What will they need every day?

§ Agree as a family which pieces need to be a particular brand (if any) and which ones should be simply found at the lowest price. We call these lists our “we-promise-not-to-deviate-from-this list.” Get buy-in from the whole family that if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t come home.

4. Match the list with coupons and codes

§ Match each list item with sales you find online and in circulars.

§ RedPlum coupon books, which come in your newspaper or mail, contain great coupons that can be clipped and matched to your list.

§ On, families will find other printable coupons, plus percent- and dollar-off coupon codes for use at online retailers like Target and Find the online retailers where the items you want are offered at the best price, and then use a coupon code to save even more.

5. Plan breakfasts, lunches and dinners around what coupons you have. Let the coupons guide your meal ideas for the week.

§ Spending just 20 minutes a week taking advantage of coupons and special offers can save you up to $1,000 a year or more.

§ Use your coupons to help you make more than what you need of a meal and utilize your leftovers for lunches.

§ Team up print coupons with online coupons and in-store deals for even greater deals.

§ Breakfast is especially important for children and adolescents. According to the American Diabetic Association, children who eat breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills and eye-hand coordination. They may also be more alert and creative, and less likely to miss school. Send your child off to school after eating breakfast. We have a great deal on through the year for Kellogg’s Cereal ($1.50 off two boxes of select cereals). Cereal is one of those morning staples. Pairing with retail sales will save you even more.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi, thanks so much for posting! I loved your tips, and the concept of matching your list to online sales and coupon is, frankly, genius. Why didn't I think of that?? lol. I want to share something with you that's made my life a little easier, as a mom when the rush of getting the kids ready for the new school years approaches. It's called Chef's Diet, and what they do is prepare meals for you, daily, made from fresh produce and meats. They have different diets to choose from, and they even deliver it straight to your door in a cooler with blue ice in it! If you want, check out to even get a chance to win a free month's worth of food!

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