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How to save on back-to-school shopping

4. Compare prices before you buy. A few minutes of searching online can help ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. Consumer Reports lists prices at various retailers for products we’ve tested, so you can get a quick overview of who’s charging what. And for items we don’t test, such as B. clothing, there are numerous online tools like Google Shopping that summarize the prices in one place to save time.

When you shop in-store, many retailers, including Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, will match competitors’ prices so you may be able to get a better price without leaving a store. However, every business policy is different. For example, Walmart only matches the price of one item per customer per day and only from a select list of online vendors.

Target will only match the price if you find the item cheaper elsewhere after purchasing it from Target. It will then refund you the difference, but you only have 14 days after purchase to request a price adjustment. Best Buy will adjust prices during the return and exchange period, whether another retailer has a better price or the item goes on sale at Best Buy.

5. Distribute your purchases. Most shoppers will turn to big retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, but those aren’t your only options. Other good places to find school supplies are dollar stores, office supply stores, and wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Wholesale clubs can be especially good for large families or multiple families shopping together and splitting up bulk supplies. Note that paying a membership fee just to save on back-to-school shopping is probably not worth it. But you can always team up with another family to share the cost of membership – and these stores usually allow you to cancel your membership at any time, so you don’t have to keep it if you don’t want it.

6. Consider buying refurbished electronics. Rather than investing in a brand new computer or phone, look for a certified pre-owned model from a reputable seller like Amazon or the manufacturer themselves. Especially now that new laptops are in high demand, this can be a great way to get a device find one that suits your needs at a lower price. The same logic can be applied to last year’s models.

7. Keep an eye on sales after you’re done shopping. If something goes on sale after you buy it, you may be able to get some of your money back. Various retailers have policies on this, but you usually have about two weeks to request a partial refund. And if that doesn’t work, you can always return the item and buy again to take advantage of the savings.

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