Shopping for back-to-school deals

- As summer vacation comes to a close, we want to make sure you’re spending precious moments -- not dollars.

No one wants to stress out driving from store to store for back-to-school shopping, waiting until the last minute and then putting whatever they see in the cart -- for whatever it costs.  So we found websites that do the work for you.

Try PennyPinchinMom.com for a price comparison database before you shop.

DealsPlus.com has featured sales - and quick links to promo codes.

Offers.com has a segment dedicated to back to school deals at major retailers. They surveyed parents and found this year the focus is on supplies, shoes and clothes, and backpacks, compared to electronics.

Kerry Sherin with Offers.com told us that, to keep their information current, they get feeds from different retailers and hand-pick deals based on their merchandising team’s research.

PassionForSavings.com is another great site. I love this one because you can sign up for alerts.

The founder of the site, Heather Schisler, said, “we actually have a team of people that compile this data every week. Every Thursday and Friday we have everything posted ahead of time so you can get online and see what's on sale.”

The key is to make and stick to a list and price compare before you head out.

“So many schools require specific brands; they're after Crayola or Elmer's. If you have one of those schools that is very brand specific, we have a database that lets you search so you know what store to go to and where to find the best price,” Schisler advised.

Before you head out, download some price comparison apps on your smartphone like Red Laser or Deal News so you can check the competition on the spot.  Many stores, including Walmart, Best Buy and Target, will price match, so you may be able to get the better price without even leaving the store.

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