Our first stop was Macy's. We left the store with $140.00 in merchandise, but paid $0.00. That's right not a dime was spent from my checkbook. One might ask how did I accomplish such a feat? Well, last year when going over the terms of my credit card and rewards program, I noticed a great benefit. Accumulating 20,000 rewards points results in a $250 gift card. It took me a full year to build up enough points, but I did it. I knew last September that this particular card would be used for school clothes. I also have a Kohl's gift card, accumulated the same way. It is only $25.00 and will be used for the running shoes my son will need for cross country in the fall. One word of caution about credit card reward programs. They are worth nothing if you don't pay the bill off every month. The interest charges will exceed the rewards in a matter of a couple of months.
Our next stop was The Gap. There was a great sale there today. Buy one pair of jeans, get the 2nd for $10.00. I bought my son his jeans for the fall at a deep discount. Sadly, I did not have a gift card for The Gap, but I guess I can't expect to get all of their school clothes for free.
We did not finish our school shopping today. I want to take advantage of as many sales and coupons as possible. One advantage to working at the mall is that I always see the deals and specials. I can't complain about that.
I took advantage of a couple of specials this summer that resulted in free stuff for the family. Barnes and Noble has a reading program for the kids. If your child reads 8 books and records those books on a chart from the store, they can earn a free book from the store. All 3 of my children participated in that summer program. We were able to claim approximately $15.00 worth of free merchandise. Not bad for doing something that they love doing, reading.
The miniature golf course close to our house gives the kids at their school coupons for a free game. We used those coupons and had a fun afternoon of golf, all for free. I will be the first to admit that none of us have the foggiest idea of how to actually play and score miniature golf. We don't let that get in the way of our fun.
Every quarter Godiva Chocolate sends a coupon for a free product at the store. Recently we received a coupon for a free milk shake. The milk shakes are huge! More than enough for 3 people (I pass on that calorie laden, future heart attack!). The kids order a shake and the woman who works there splits it between 3 cups. Dessert while shopping for free! I bought a truffle for myself, I don't want to come across as a free loader.
As the weeks go on, I will continue to update on our school shopping. We have a lot to do still.