Websites Help Consumers Track Sales, Offer Rebates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s almost time for kids to head back to school, which means some families could be shelling out hundreds of dollars for school supplies.

But as CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported Tuesday, there are tricks to save while doing the back-to-school shopping.

Stores are already stocking their shelves with notebooks, paper, pencils and electronics. The National Retail Federation said the average family will spend about $700 this year on school supplies.

Some parents said the supplies quickly add up.

“We spend about $150 per child at the beginning of the year,” one mother said. “So maybe it is about right.”

Financial expert Scott Gamm, author of the book “More Money Please,” said even the busiest people can slash costs. He said it’s essentially couponing without most of the work.

“We’ll tend to see notebooks for pennies or a free pack of pens after a rebate,” Gamm told Smith.

Websites like and take less than a minute to sign up for, Smith reported. They direct consumers to hundreds of online stores and do all of the couponing for you.

“We’re talking 4 percent back at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond, 6 percent cash back at Kmart. And the sites will tally up your savings and send you a check in the mail,” said Gamm.

The website comparison shops. It compiles school supply prices by text or email at a variety of stores and also tracks sales.

“When it goes on sale, it’ll actually send you an alert. That way, you can always make sure you’re getting the best sale price,” Gamm told Smith.

Experts say there’s a way to never miss a sale as long as you save your receipts. They say if the item goes on sale within a week, just go back and most places will make up the difference.

“People are pretty surprised at the savings and not only that, the little time it takes to do all of this,” Gamm said.

Saving money and saving time can co-exist, experts said, as long as you know the latest tricks of the shopping trade.

Experts also recommend asking a manager if the store offers price matching. That way, you don’t have to burn extra gas to get the sales at another store.

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