How to save money on back to school supplies, despite price increases in 2021

It's back to school time for many kids and if you're spending more on school supplies, you are not alone.

It's estimated more will be spent on clothes, technology, and school supplies this year compared to last year.

To try and save some money on supplies, before even heading out to the store, first do an inventory check of school supplies already in your home.

"Actually take a look at what you have, so you are just not buying anything that you don't actually need," Kristin McGarth with RetailMeNot said.

Another way to save money is to buy in bulk.

"Whether that is from a warehouse store or going on Amazon, and finding bulk deal on items, you'll pay less per item, and then a lot of that stuff you can use for next year," McGarth adds.

Whether you're buying online or in the store, research to make sure you're getting the most for your money.

"Go online, compare different prices, clip coupons, sign up for store emails, there's a lot of ways that you can save money," Mallory Wojciechowski with the BBB of Eastern North Carolina said.

Besides shopping at the big box stores, don't forget about your local grocery store and pharmacy. Right now many are running buy one get one free deals along with cashback offers.

Also, don't forget to ask for student discounts. Even when it's not advertised, many retailers offer discounts to students that have either an .edu email address or a student ID.

Before you check out, take a look at the return policy and save your receipts.

If you're shopping online, here are tips from the BBB to protect your purchases.

When shopping from an online website the first step is to make sure the URL starts with "https" and includes a lock symbol. The "s" in "https" stands for secure, that way you know your information is being protected.

Look up the website's privacy policy and contact information. If it is not clearly listed, or they only have an email as the point of contact, take that as a big red flag and shop elsewhere.
Do your research. An unknown website may offer a similar product at a lower price. The lowest price isn't always the best route. Check for user reviews and badges for consumer protection agencies.

Be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card, as credit cards not only provide additional protection, but it's also easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.

Be extremely wary of any website or store that asks for your child's personal information to access special deals.

If you use Facebook you know banner ads are all over the place and many ads are even catered to what you like. Some of them, however, are just clickbait ads to drive you to a different website where you could potentially be asked to input personal information. Take note of the ad and go to the store's website directly
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