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When all of the vacations have wrapped and I start to hear "I'm bored", when Hannah Montana and Zack and Cody have made numerous re-run appearances that no longer occupy my pre-teen, when Old Navy marks jeans down to $10 - that's when I know it's time to get BACK TO SCHOOL.

 

My children head back to school this week - do you hear the scream of joy from my home office? Here, come closer, do you hear it? YEAH!! BACK TO SCHOOL! BACK TO SCHOOL! Admittedly, I'm not one for homework but I do enjoy a good routine. Needless to say, by the end of the summer there is no routine in place at our house - unless you count always eating noodles for lunch and hours at the swimming pool as a routine. Yes, it's true, mass chaos has erupted at the Crooks household.

 

Last Friday, dressed in clothes entirely too warm for the weather (you know as well as I do they just wanted to wear the NEW stuff) with backpacks brimming with thousands - ok hundreds - of dollars of supplies I dropped my girls off at the doorsteps of their 2011-2012 educators. Then I turned around and walked quietly back to my van (hey don't judge it's almost paid for), checked for life in my rear view mirror, took a deep breath, and drove silently home with only my own thoughts.

 

Oh don't you think it was that easy. Leading up to this school year I had a lot on my plate I had to organize - and BTS was just one of them. Shopping with a four year old who wants to "look like a rock star" and a pre-teen who knows how to roll her eyes three directions and only likes things that are black or sparkly - by the way "sparkly" is NOT a color - can be a bit challenging. Not to mention the serious amount of cash we had to doll out on supplies. Lucky for you, I've done some of the dirty work to make it easier for you this BTS season. Here are some fabulous tips on saving a bit of cash - you know, so you can afford that "silent" run through Starbucks on your way home!

 

Take advantage of tax-free weekends - For a list of participating locales, go to taxadmin.org.

 

Comb your ad circulars, use your coupons and comparative shop - Shop the "big box" stores vs. drugstores/grocery stores as they typically have much deeper discounts.

 

Always ask for your military or student discounts - you can save 5% or more!

 

Don't buy what you don't need - Reuse and recycle items from last year and be sure to inventory what you still have on hand.

 

Rent or download your text books - Kindle Textbook Rentals have rentals for 30 days to a year for 80% off the price for the paper books.

 

Download some of the best apps for promo codes - GeoQpons, mobiQpons, and Seize the Deal are good for BTS.

 

Buy quality where it counts - Don't just grab the cheapest option available. Spend some time looking at how things are made and choose products that are made to last. You may spend more now but in the long run you won't have to buy a replacement and come out ahead.

 

INTERACT

 

Fill in the blank - You know it is BTS when ___________.

What money saving ideas do you have for BTS shopping?

What is your favorite part about BTS season?

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Contributor
You know it is back to school time around here when lunch boxes come out of the cupboards, backpacks come out of the closets and Mom starts singing Christmas songs like, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." I actually wrote about Back To School money saving tips just last week, hm... must be the season: http://militaryblog.militaryavenue.com/2011/08/back-to-school-budget-oh-and-maybe.html. Just remember you may not NEED to buy new lunch boxes, backpacks, scissors etc etc each year. If you can hold off you can get some of the bigger ticket items at 50% to 75% off mid-September. (That is one of my highest recommendations.) Stock up when the savings are hot!