As summer camps wind to a close and kids make their final splashes at the pool, parents have one thing on their minds: back-to-school shopping.
But when you add up the cost of all the items on your kids’ classroom supply lists, backpacks, clothes and shoes, back-to-school is expensive.
The following is a list of discounts to help military families get the kids off to school in style while staying within your budget.
1. Operation Homefront's Back-to-School Brigade
Operation Homefront partners with Dollar Tree to collect school supplies for military children as part of their Back-to-School Brigade. Volunteers distribute the supplies at events throughout the country during the back-to-school season. Visit the Operation Homefront website for more information and to find events in your area.
2. Tax-Free Shopping Days
For a few days each year, some states offer a "sales tax holiday" right around back-to-school time when shoppers can buy specified items tax-free. This is a great way to save on back-to-school necessities like clothes, shoes, and other school supplies. Click here for a list of participating states and dates.
3. Clothing and Accessories
By the time summer is over, the kids have either outgrown all their school clothes or worn them ragged from vacation and camp. Update their wardrobe with new clothes and accessories using military discounts at stores like Kohl's, Old Navy, L.L.Bean, Wrangler and Columbia. If you're mall shopping, be sure to ask for a military discount in every store you stop in. Some malls, like the Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offer military discounts in many of their stores.
No back-to-school wardrobe is complete without new shoes. So take advantage of the military discounts offered by stores like Rack Room Shoes, Foot Locker, New Balance, Nike and Zappos.com.
5. Classroom Supplies
Most schools expect parents to help stock classroom supplies like pencils, crayons, notebooks, folders, scissors, glue, and binders, as well as necessities like tissues and hand sanitizer. Find these supplies and use military discounts as Office Depot, Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric.
6. Eye wear
It may be time for a new prescription or maybe just fun new frames. Military discounts are available when purchasing glasses at Zenni.com and Eyemart Express.
7. Backpacks and Lunch Bags
Looking for backpacks and lunch bags? Vera Bradley has adorable collections and offers a 15% military discount. Kohl's also has backpacks and lunch bags, but keep in mind their military discount is only valid on Mondays.
8. Tutoring and Test Prep
Does your child need a little extra help with homework and studying? Tutor.com, where expert tutors are online 24/7, offers free tutoring for military families.
Do you have older kids getting ready for college testing? eKnowledge donates their SAT and ACT College Test Preparation Programs to service members and their families. You pay a small fee of either $19.99 (standard), $39.99 (premium) or $99.99 (super course).
9. Computers, Devices and Cellphone Plans
If you’re looking to buy a computer or other devices, check out the military discounts offered by Apple.
Most cellphone providers, like Verizon and T-Mobile, offer military discounts, so if you’re in the market for new cellphone plans to keep in touch with your active student, contact your provider to ask what they offer for military families. (Some offer military discounts on devices and accessories as well.)
10. Exchange Price Match Policy
Don’t forget that the Navy Exchange (NEX), the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) and the Army and Air Force Exchange (AAFES) all offer price matching. That means if you see a lower price for the same item at another store, bring proof to the Exchange and you can buy that item for the competitor’s price.
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