By Marguerite Cleveland
The first day of school is right around the corner and it is time to get ready. Clothes, shoes, lunch boxes and school supplies can be a large expense. Here are some tips to help you save some money.
- Make your first stop your Army & Air Force Exchange, Navy Exchange or Coast Guard Exchange. All offer back to school sales and extra savings come into play with tax-free. Here where I live in Washington State that is almost a 10% savings. Also don’t forget the online versions of each, ShopmyExchange.com, myNavyExchange.com, and ShopCGX.com. Not many people are aware that the Exchanges price match. Last school year one of my children needed an expensive calculator. It was on sale at a local retailer. You will need to bring the item and the local ad to the customer service desk to get the discounted price and then you also save the tax. When you shop at the exchange all the profits go back to the military community so it is always my first stop.
- Office Depot, Staples and many other retailers offer special deals to get you into the stores hoping you will do all your school supply shopping there. I go in for the deals and buy the max amount of all the .25 cent and .50 cent deals even if I don’t need in. Any excess supplies I donate. Discounts are usually on paper, notebooks, pencils, glue sticks, folders etc. Buy a Sunday newspaper to look at all the ads. Weekly ads are usually available on a store’s website.
- Take a trip to an Outlet Mall. This is another option for getting some good deals. When arriving head to the customer service desk and ask for the military discount booklet. This will show you every retailer that offers a discount. Some are as much as 25% off. Also see if you have any clearance outlets. This is the last stop for merchandise and the prices are crazy good but the selection is super limited. If you have any family members who wear extra small or xxx large this is a great option.
- Employee Stores. Check if you are near any major retailers headquarters. We are located near Portland, Oregon and Nike allows military to shop at their employee store a few times a year. Columbia and Under Armor allow military to shop year round. Typically employee stores offer 50% or more off of current and first quality merchandise.
- Online. Check out sites like Amazon Prime for some great deals with free shipping. It is easy to price compare online and if you hate to shop you can just sit down and order everything.
What are your favorite back to school shopping tips?
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com