Back-to-school season is in full swing as parents scramble to prepare their kids for class. Beyond pencils, binders and backpacks, shoes represent one of the most common purchases this time of year. They're also one of the priciest necessities, with spending on shoes and sneakers expected to exceed $100 per family.
If new shoes or sneakers are on your back-to-school shopping list, learn how to save with these smart shopping tips.
1. Sign Up for Savings
Create a separate email account and sign up for retailer alerts and newsletters. You can stay on top of sales and promotions, plus get exclusive coupons and other offers. For example, first-time Old Navy subscribers get a coupon for $10 off $50.
2. Get Crafty with Coupons
Instead of spending your Sunday clipping coupons, use your smartphone to save in-store. Access mobile coupons to hundreds of stores by downloading the free Coupon Sherpa mobile app.
3. Don't Forget Department Stores
Department stores are among the most popular destinations this time of year because they represent one-stop shopping. Plus, general promotions can be applied to shoe purchases, potentially saving you more money than specialty shops. For example, you can find shoes for 60 to 80-percent off at Kohl's clearance, while JCPenney offers several styles for less than $25.
4. Take a Survey
Famous Footwear often gives shoppers coupons for money off by completing surveys from recent purchases. Hold on to those receipts and spend a few minutes to complete the survey. Redeem the coupon during your next trip and apply it to your kids' shoe purchase.
5. Shop Online
You can often find better deals on name-brand shoes by shopping online. For example, get free shipping from Finish Line in addition to other deals on thousands of styles. Online-only sites like Zappos and Piperlime offer free shipping both ways, enabling you to order multiple sizes without penalty.
6. Check In
Foursquare is a free mobile app offering coupons and other perks for "checking in" to retailers and restaurants.
7. Shop Second-Hand
Thrift shops and consignment stores carry kids' shoes, so keep your eyes peeled for available sizes and styles. Inspect the shoes carefully for wear-and-tear. In some cases, you will find brand-new shoes for just a few dollars.
8. Use Flash Sites
Flash-sale sites aren't just for adults; sites like Zulily and The Mini Social offer flash sales for kids' items including shoes. Site membership is required (and free), but you better be prepared to buy when offers go live because items sell out fast!
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.