In some parts of the country, kids are already back to school. For the rest of us, school is just around the corner. Whether you're still caught up in last minute back-to-school shopping, or have already found yourself counting down the number of shopping days until Christmas, now is a great time to figure out what apps and websites can help you lower that bill.
The first step in saving is to create a list. This will keep you focused on what you need and help avoid expensive impulse buys. It will also save time running back and forth and store to store, because you forgot that one thing. Apps like Out of Milk are perfect for making lists by store. Look for one that includes a feature that allows you to make your list by scanning the bar code of the item. This ensures you'll get exactly what you need - even if you're making the list for someone else. Look for an app that will also help find deals in your area.
Speaking of deals...check out Cartwheel by Target. This app allows you to search deals by department, and add them to your cartwheel. Then simply shop, and present your bar code at check-out. You'll get all the savings in your cartwheel. Coupons can be used as many times as you want, while they're valid.
Are you already on Foursquare? Make sure to always check in at your favorite stores. Some retailers offer discounts to new customers, or loyal customers. If there's a deal to be had, you'll find out at check-in. If this is a good way for you to shop, also check out Shopkick, an app specifically designed to help you earn points to be used towards discounts at your favorite stores.
There's power in numbers. Sites like Groupon and Living Social work with retailers to offer deals that can't be beat. Sign up for alerts so you know when there's a new deal in your area.
Shopping online? Start at a site like Ebates.com or Shop.com. From there, you can access your favorite retailers and get cash-back for money you were already going to spend.