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Cheapskate Mom

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Guest blogger Michelle Kemper Brownlow: We just did the back-to-school shopping. My kids wanted Hollister, Aero and Abercrombie. Funny, they had no interest in paying for any of it. Funnier, they actually THOUGHT I would melt my credit cards on this whim!

woman holding out coins
First, I never go shopping without coupons -- especially the ones that offer a percentage off of your whole purchase. You can easily find coupons online. Sometimes the store offers larger discounts if you shop online, too, so bone up on your children's sizes -- it'll save you a buck (or ten).

Second, we always walk straight to the back of the store to begin our shopping. "Clearance" doesn't mean "stained and torn"; these clothes are simply items that were overstocked and/or the sizes that are hardest to sell.

Third, we weed through the mother lode before going to the register. Do we really needten graphic tees from Old Navy?

Fourth, we always visit an overstock discount store like T.J. Maxx or Ross. We are talking designer clothes for under thirty dollars! (I once got a pair of Lucky Brand Jeans at Ross for $29.99.)

And last, if the cashier asks if you want to save an extra ten or twenty percent by signing up for a store credit card, say "YES!" (Unless you have extreme debt issues, of course.) They will put the purchase on your new account, you will save 20 percent, you will pay off the card with their guaranteed "no finance charges" ... and then you will cancel the account and cut up the card.

My three children and I knocked out most of our back-to-school shopping in one day -- and for just over $300! (Seriously!) I am talking skinny jeans, name brands, shoes and the like. I was so proud of our victory, I saved my receipts so I could look at them every now and then.

Printed at the bottom of two of the three receipts is a "Your Savings" section. We spent $62.39 at Justice, but with my "40 percent off your entire purchase" coupon, we saved $58.76. At Old Navy, we shopped from only the clearance racks and used a "30 percent off your entire purchase" coupon. We spent $79.39, but saved $41.53!We also went to Ross, and my kids were so in love with their $161.86 in purchases that they ripped the tags off as soon as we got home, before I could revel in the savings. But we did some serious shopping there.

Two days later, we did the school-supply shopping ... and I was glad we'd saved money on clothes, because the calculators, binders and flash drives broke the bank.

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