How to save big before going back to school

Writer: Drew Hill

Whether you’re back-to-school shopping or taking advantage of low retail prices, there are ways to stack your savings even more.

Apps and web sites like RetailMeNot and Rakuten are an easy way to get cashback without signing up for another credit card.

First, create a free account. Once it is set up, go through and browse the deals.

For example, right now, Rakuten is offering 10% cashback on Macy’s purchases and 4% at Staples.  Instead of going to or, first head to the cashback site and click the offer. The page will redirect you to the store’s site where you’ll shop like you normally would.

RetailMeNot is currently offering 5% cashback at American Eagle and 11% at Finish Line.

After checkout, the money is deposited into your account.

To have coupons and promotional codes automatically applied at checkout, try using a browser extension like Honey or Wikibuy.

If the store you’re shopping at doesn’t have any deals, don’t hesitate to ask.

“If you’re at the counter or your shopping online, consider using the chat option. Ask them, ‘Do you have any discounts for students?'” said RetailMeNot shopping expert Sara Skirboll.

If money is tight right now, families can use funds from a 529 savings plan toward K-12 tuition and fees.

To take money out of a Florida Prepaid Savings Plan, which is different from than their College Tuition plan, a spokesperson said:

1.   Request funds be moved to their linked bank account (e.g. checking) and use the funds as they would normally any money (fastest way to get funds – about 3 days)

2.   Request that a check be mailed directly to the school – this assists with the “paper trail” – and keeps funds out of the AO checking account, etc.

3.   Request that a check be mailed to themselves (to the account owner)  – slowest option

The program recommends customers keep track of all expenses and keep receipts.   For specific tax information, please consult an investment adviser or certified public accountant.

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