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How to use credit cards for saving $$$ on back-to-school shopping

Back-to-school season has arrived. In other words, the second biggest shopping season is back with a bang. Kids are happy, but the parents are worried. When I see my friends buying colorful school supplies for their kids, my heart secretly craves for them. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not craving for the kids at this stage of my career. Rather, I want to have all the goodies. I want to buy those colorful backpacks, go back to classrooms, resume studies, and have fun with friends.

Recently, when I told this to my best friend, she was aghast. She said “Are you out of your mind? Do you know how much I pay for the credit card bills after this back-to-school shopping period is over?” She has a point. I don’t have any idea how much she pays for her credit card bills. But I read articles every day, and this year, parents are expected to spend $82.8 billion for K-12 schools and colleges. That’s a big amount, but I don’t agree that parents are compelled to spend so much on shopping. They need to shop smartly. They need to use their credit cards to save on their back-to-school expenses. It’s as simple as that.

How to use credit cards to save on back-to-school shopping

Here are a few ways parents can use credit cards to cut down their back-to-school shopping expenses.

  1. Use the sign-up bonus: The credit card sign-up bonus can help you save hundreds of dollars when you meet the minimum spending requirement.

    I’m not asking you to spend unnecessarily just to fulfill the minimum spending requirement. What you can do is, shop together with your friends and neighbors. This can help you meet the requirement easily and use the rewards for lowering your back-to-school expenses.

  2. Redeem rewards: Reward rates depend on the type of card you’re using. Still, you can expect a 1.5% to 2% return for cash-back credit cards. You can redeem these rewards for cash to reduce your expenses on back-to-school shopping. You can even use the cash for lowering your traveling costs.
  3. Use cards with 0% APR: Certain back-to-school supplies carry big price tags. A credit card with an introductory 0% APR can help you save money on big purchases. Obviously, you have to make monthly payments. But at least, you won’t be charged interest during the promotional period.

Best credit cards for back-to-school shopping

Here are my top 3 credit cards for back-to-school shopping.

  1. Target REDcard: This is undoubtedly one of the best credit cards for back-to-school shopping. You can get a 5% discount on your purchases at checkout. Plus, you can enjoy free shipping on Target.com orders and a longer span of time for returns.
  2. Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card: This card gives you cash back on snacks and school supplies. You can get a 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Apart from this, you can get some other benefits like:
    • Three percent cash back on gas
    • One percent cash back on other purchases (up to the first $2500 every quarter)
    • Additional 10% bonus at the time of redeeming rewards into the Bank Of America checking account
    • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you made purchases worth $500 in the first 3 months of account opening.
  3. Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card: This card gives you a 3% cash back on Amazon.com purchases and whole food market purchases. Plus, you can get a 2% cash back on gas stations, drug stores, and restaurants. The benefits are not finished yet. The card also offers a 1% cash back on other purchases.

Good news for the Amazon Prime members. They can get a 5% cash back on their shopping. Amazon is well known for giving huge sales on back-to-school supplies and other necessities. Prime members can take advantage of these discounts together with two-day free shipping.

My personal favorite is the Target REDcard. Target has upgraded their back-to-school supplies. Free shipping and cash back are big benefits. I wouldn’t want to lose that. Target gave a 15% discount to teachers during the last week of July. That means teachers could get a 20% discount on their overall purchases. Isn’t that great?

See alsoBack to school shopping begins: Should you buy textbooks or tablets?