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Back to School Bargain Hunting Tips

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 @ 01:46:34 AM CDT by David Yee [] [read 2041 times]

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In this "Surviving the Economy Extra," a local super-shopper is back to share how she's sending her kids to school for less than $5 a piece.

If they handed out grades for shopping Karen Gunter would get an 'A.'

"Actually free from Target with a coupon," super shopper Karen Gunter said while holding up a bottle of hand sanitizer.

While others are shelling $30, $40, even $50 for the back-to-school stuff, Karen's collected all of the supplies in her mini-van trunk for pennies on the dollar.

"I would say, probably under 10 bucks," Karen said.

A trunk of back-to-school stuff for less than $10, Karen actually filled her son Anthony's supply list for less than five bucks and her daughter Courtney's for less than $3. And she's sharing a few of her secrets so you can do it too.

"Walmart, CVS, Kmart, Target," Karen said while going through a mental list of places she shops.

Tip #1: Shop in spurts. Hit several stores for nothing but the specials.

"They get you in with those sale prices and expect you to buy everything else and be done with it all at once. Not me," Karen said laughing.

Karen says she puddle jumps from store to store. And since it's not out of her way, she's not wasting gas.

Tip #2: Before you head down the aisles, log on to the internet.

"Get on the websites," Karen added as she and her kids walked through the Walgreens in Champlin.

Karen routinely finds coupons and unadvertised specials. Savings on things like the tissues that are likely on your back-to-school list.

"This is bringing it down to 89 cents and I have a manufacturer's coupon for 50 cents for each box and it'll bring it down to 39 cents," Karen explained as she ripped out coupons from the Walgreens sale flyer.

Even at just 39 cents for Kleenex, the deal on Bic pens is even better.

"I'm actually going to get them for free," Karen said smiling.

Yes, 10 packs of pens at two for $1, plus five '$1 off' coupons she found online equals 80 pens for nothing.

Karen's so good at saving, it actually takes a little work to spend her way up $5.

"Oh, let's go and pick up our Ziploc bags," Karen told her kids.

The dollars she is trying to spend is money she'll get back with this $5 off Walgreens coupon.

"We can pick up two of them and our bill can come pretty close to zero," Karen said.

Pretty close to zero indeed. For this trip to Walgreens, Karen's items add up to $13.14. Her coupons knock off a whopping $13. With tax, and what's left of the bill, she owes only 94 cents.

So, Tip #3: Check out re-sale shops.

"It's like a treasure hunt for brand names," Karen said while looking for shorts and t-shirts for her son at Kidsrack in Champlin.

Here Karen and her kids score more savings on those current gotta-have-'em looks from Abercrombie, Hollister and Aeropostale.

"They look brand new, they're cool, they're hip," Karen said while thumbing through hangers of t-shirts. "And I know I'm going to get my money's worth out of them."

Another tip from Karen is shop a size ahead of where your kids are now. Then, she says, you'll have a cheaper jump on next season.

Today the Gunters are getting four name brand looks for less than $20.

Another assignment complete by a budget-minded mom.

"I got an A-plus in shopping," Karen said while holding up a t-shirt with the same saying.

A mom whose grade in money-management is an A-plus, even if the shirt doesn't fit.

"I would buy it for $3.50 if it was in my size," Karen joked.

Karen says organization is key to her bargain hunting. She keeps careful track of coupons and extra supplies the family has picked up. When there are extras, Karen makes donations to schools.

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Back To School Bargain Hunting Tips Rating: 2.3/5 (9 votes cast)

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