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Save money on back-to-school shopping with these five apps

It is not only the students who deplore the start of the new school year, it is also their parents.

Well, at least financially.

A Deloitte Back-to-School 2022 survey found that 57% of back-to-school shoppers are worried about increased spending, and expect it to hit a new high of $661 per student. This is an increase of $53, or 8%, from the 2021-22 school year.

“Inflation is definitely impacting how people plan for this event,” Lupin Skelly, head of retail research for Deloitte’s Consumer Industry Center, says in a company blog post. “Three in five said they were concerned about higher back-to-school prices, [plus] people are facing higher prices for groceries and gas, which means you’re really going to have to budget.

Similarly, Lesley Deas, head of research at Flipp, an app and website that lets you browse or search store flyers, found that 43% of parents expect to spend more this year.

“We’ve seen that higher prices have an impact on how parents plan to shop and what they plan to spend,” Deas says, based on survey results commissioned by Flipp in June, led by Maru/BLUE. “Partly that’s because in-class learning has fully resumed, but parents said ‘higher prices’ were the main reason for their budget adjustments.”

Fortunately, there are several free apps, websites, and browser extensions that can help students and parents find deals on back-to-school essentials.

They each work a little differently, but here are five valid considerations.

One of the rewards programs

Formerly eBates, Rakuten pays members cash back every time you shop online at participating retailers, with more than 3,500 supporting stores, the company says.

Here’s how it works: Create a free account and launch the app or website whenever you want to start shopping (or opt for the browser extension). Then, if you buy something from one of the supported retailers, Rakuten splits the commission they receive from the stores, for sending you their way.

The percentage you get back varies. You can choose to be paid by check, PayPal deposit or American Express Member Rewards points.

Rakuten also offers a $30 referral bonus if someone you refer signs up and makes a $30 purchase within 90 days.

Another way to save:How Ibotta makes it easy to earn cashback and rewards

Shop smarter:Here’s How I Got $4,700 in Discounts and Free Items

Rather than having newsprint on your hands reading the weekly advertisements (

Flipp aggregates the paper flyers (in-store announcements) we receive at our doorstep, but also highlights the best deals.

Type in your zip code and the app or website will list your local retailers and the sales and coupons they offer, whether you’re looking for electronics, homewares, fashion, school supplies or produce. groceries.

You can browse over 2,000 retailers or search by keyword, while a “watch list” tracks the deals you want on specific items and Flipp notifies you when new deals arrive.

The app also holds virtually all of your in-store loyalty and rewards cards to scan at checkout, instead of carrying a pocket or purse full of plastic.

Slickdeals is a website, app, and browser extension, with a community of around 12 million savvy shoppers.

Collectively, these deal hunters find and share great discounts, coupons and promo codes, across all the top stores, including physical and online retailers, and the deals are then approved by the community through a voting system.

For example, if someone finds a huge sale on, say, a Samsung widescreen ideal for a dorm room, others can confirm and/or clarify the sale, with the best of the best deals often appearing on the homepage. from Slickdeals.

If you’re looking for something specific, you can set a sale alert to get notified when it’s on sale.

Back to school:Shop the 55+ best back to school sales now available at Amazon, Target and Best Buy

Updated daily:Here are the 10 best Amazon deals you can get today

As the name suggests, its Cashback Rewards program allows users to receive cashback at participating retailers, via PayPal credit, gift cards, and other options.

According to PayPal Honey, this handy shopping companion has helped customers find more than $100 million in savings.

A free desktop and browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, or Opera, PayPal Honey monitors where you shop online and will automatically apply the best promo codes and coupons it finds at checkout.

Additionally, the platform helps you earn money on qualifying purchases, and you can also add items to your Honey “Droplist” to keep tabs on price drops. PayPal Honey can provide information such as price history, alerting consumers if the price has changed over a period of time.

Target circle guide:How to save, get deals, and earn money with Target’s free loyalty program

Shoppers who like to make back-to-school purchases on their mobile device can install the PayPal Honey Mobile Browser through the PayPal app.

Amazon may be America’s largest online retailer, but there are sections of the site and app you might not be familiar with that are designed to save you money.

Just like you might shop at a thrift or thrift store in person, Amazon Warehouse offers great deals on quality used or refurbished products. Here you can shop millions of used and open box items, including used computers and tablets, home and kitchen items, unlocked cell phones and more.

Even if you buy a discounted Amazon Warehouse product, many items are eligible for Prime or free shipping (Amazon Prime is $139/year, with several perks). These items usually don’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but all are covered by Amazon’s liberal return policy.

Amazon also has a Coupons section. You can search by keyword or browse by category: Grocery, Pets, Health & Personal Care, Electronics & Wireless, Toys & Games, Home, Garden & Tools, and Fashion & Accessories.

It might not be much – like saving $3 on a box of razor blades or 20% off a mattress protector – but why pay more than you have to?

Note: Some coupons are only available to Amazon Prime customers.

Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.