Summer always seems to be over as soon as it begins, and there are only a few weeks between the end of one school year and the beginning of another. That means gearing up for back-to-school shopping before you know it. Whether you're heading to university yourself and trying to gather everything you'll need or preparing to shop for your children, you're probably looking for any and every way to save money.

Fortunately, there are some great hacks out there, and we're gathering six of the best for you. Keep reading to cut down on the cost of school supplies, clothes, and other necessities!

Track Online Sales

If you start preparing early, you have plenty of time to check around online for the best deals and steals of the back-to-school season. There are plenty of great deals to choose from, including some of your favorite stores.

For instance, Amazon's summer Prime Day sneaks in before school starts up its fall semester. Don't be fooled into thinking Prime Day only has household goods - there are plenty of back-to-school items getting deep discounts. You'll find everything from discounted pencils and folders to amazing deals on tech items that college students and elementary kids will love.

Big retailers like Target, Walmart, and Office Depot run sales online and in-store for back-to-school shoppers, offering deeply discounted clothes, notebooks, pencils, and similar supplies. You'll also catch clothing prices online with stores like Old Navy. We're talking about deals like 50% off everything! That makes a huge difference when you're trying to refresh a closet while saving money.

Don't Shop Online Without Comrade

All those online sales are great, but you'll be missing out on serious savings if you shop without Comrade installed. As you're browsing for the best prices, Comrade offers recommendations from partnered brands for the specific items on your list. You'll get offers from major brands like Walmart, Best Buy, and more - all for things you're already searching for.

Don't settle for regular sales. When you shop with Comrade, you'll score those deals and earn money for interacting with the recommendations. With your extension installed, brands pay you for your attention. You'll save and earn at the same time, getting you the best prices on school supplies and putting some into your pocket all with the same click.

Visit Thrift Stores

Thrift stores and consignment shops are excellent options for filling out a wardrobe, especially for kids who grow out of everything in the blink of an eye. Many shops are still filled with clothes from beloved brands, but you'll get them at prices the retail industry doesn't offer outright. Ideally, you'll save around 50% on most items, but some could be as discounted as 90%!

Some thrift shops also run back-to-school sales, though you'll need to attend those in person and give up the convenience of online shopping. It's still a great way to combat rising prices, as paying more for necessities like groceries leaves many parents with less to spend on the upcoming school year.

There are online spaces, like Facebook Marketplace, that work similarly to thrift stores. Check local groups to see what's out there, and remember that you may get better deals if you're prepared to offer cash! Typically, people selling in online groups are looking to clear space in their own homes and are ready to get the items out of the way. Think of it like an online yard sale. You'll find thrift store prices coupled with motivated individuals.

Use the Same School Supplies

Sometimes, it makes no sense to spend money on new supplies when the old ones work just fine. Last year's folders don't stop working because two months have gone by, and there's no reason to replace unused pencils or empty notebooks. Likewise, unless a backpack is falling apart, it doesn't need replacing.

Instead of spending money on new school supplies, you can spend that money on clothes or just put it away for a rainy day. Those leftover supplies may eventually run out or need to be replenished, but it doesn't mean you have to do it all at the start of the year. Don't stretch your budget thin if you have the opportunity to save for a few more months, instead.

Plan for Tax-Free Day

Several states offer tax-free days or tax-free weekends where shoppers get many back-to-school items without paying sales tax. This includes items such as:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Backpacks
  • School supplies
  • Sports equipment
  • Computers and tablets
  • Art supplies

This option isn't available in every state, but it's a must-attend if you live in an area that offers it! Check online to see if your state offers a tax holiday and which items are included in the event. In many cases, items sold online are also tax-free for the eligible period.

Head to the Dollar Store

When all else fails, the dollar store is there for you! For basic school supplies like ink pens, paper, pencils, erasers, highlighters, and the rest, step into your nearest Dollar Tree, Dollar General, or Family Dollar and peruse their aisles. You're certain to find a good deal. Even if you only buy in small quantities, the low prices let you send your child (or yourself) off to school with everything you need - all without breaking the bank.

Many dollar stores also offer basic clothing, so you can stock up on necessities like socks without dropping money for the name brands. While you probably can't get everything you need for school at a dollar store, it gives you a major head start on the biggest necessities.

Honorable Mentions

The six tips above are hardly the only ways to save money. If they don't cover everything you need, there are several other ways to cut down on your spending. Take advantage of these options to fill in the gaps!

  • Student Discounts - Many retailers (and several local businesses) offer student discounts all year long, not just during the back-to-school season. These discounts earn everything from lower-priced electronics to discounted subscriptions. You'll typically need a student ID or school e-mail address to qualify, so have one (or both) of those ready.
  • Price Match - A lot of businesses, like Best Buy, Walmart, and others, offer price adjustments to match prices from their competitors. If you're already shopping in one place and know an item is offered elsewhere for less, check with customer service about price match requirements.
  • Buy Refurbished - Computers and tablets are some of the most expensive school supplies out there. Buying refurbished gives you a quality product at a fraction of the cost. Quality refurbished products come with a warranty, are checked for damage and hardware issues, and function as well as a new model. Best Buy, Walmart, Apple, and other retailers offer a wide selection of refurbished items.

Final Thoughts

Heading into a new school year doesn't have to drain your bank account. If you shop sales and take advantage of all the money-saving opportunities out there, you'll start the year off on a great foot regardless of your budget. Comrade is there to help you along the way, showing you the best deals for the products you need. It doesn't hurt that you'll earn a bit of extra cash in the process, too! Head into the school year knowing you've checked everything off the list at the lowest price possible.