Best in Class: 7 Top Apps for Back-to-School Shopping

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Buying supplies for school can be expensive, but some of the best tools for stuffing your backpack for less are right at the tip of your fingers. Download these seven apps before you hit the stores for back-to-school shopping.

you-need-a-budget-appYou Need a Budget

Prevent yourself from overspending on school essentials with You Need a Budget. The YNAB app allows users to create detailed monthly budgets that can be broken down into several categories. As you shop, keep yourself on target by entering transactions as you make them. That way, you’ll always know exactly how much money you have left to spend.

Price: Free from iTunes or Google Play

redlaser-appRedLaser

Smartphone barcode scanning app RedLaser makes price matching on school supplies simple. The app allows users to scan an item’s barcode and quickly locate the best deals on that product. While you’re shopping for school supplies such as backpacks or laptops, use this app to guarantee you’re not paying more than you need to. If you find an item listed for less at a competing retailer, ask the store where you’re shopping to match this lower price.

Price: Free from iTunes or Google Play

the-coupons-appThe Coupons App

Virtually scanning a product’s barcode isn’t the only way to save money on school supplies. For that feature and more, check out The Coupons App. This one combines practically every sort of money-saving technique you could imagine, from promo codes for online stores to a locator for the most affordable gas prices. The app even allows users to save and share the coupons they find.

Price: Free from iTunes or Google Play

walmart-savings-catcher-appWal-Mart Savings Catcher

This year, discount retailer Wal-Mart has a Back-to-School section with everything students could need, whether they’re entering kindergarten or college. If you plan on stocking up on school supplies at the retail giant, download the store’s Savings Catcher app. The app allows users to scan receipts from the store, and if the retailer is able to locate a lower advertised price on an identical item, the consumer will receive the difference on a Wal-Mart eGift Card.

Price: Free from iTunes or Google Play

office-depot-appOffice Depot

Office supplies are a school staple, so you’ll likely be visiting an office supply store this back-to-school shopping season. If you plan on buying from Office Depot, download the retailer’s store app. In it you’ll find weekly deals, coupons, a locator for the nearest store and access to your member rewards account, among other features.

Price: Free from iTunes or Google Play

school-supply-list-appSchool Supply List

Coupons and price matching are helpful, but if you don’t know what to buy in the first place, shopping for school can be downright difficult. For just 99 cents, iPhone users can download the School Supply List app, a one-stop shopping planning zone for students and teachers. The app allows teachers to create and share school supply lists with students — lists that can even include preferred retailers. Plus, if you see a good school supply sale while you’re out shopping, you’ll always have your list with you so you’ll know exactly what to buy, even if you forgot the hard-copy version at home.

Price: 99 cents from iTunes

things-appThings

Finally, for an app that can be used before school starts and throughout the semester, purchase Things. Although this app costs $9.99 from the iTunes store, it could be a worthwhile investment, as it’ll save you from ever having to purchase a school planner again. The app gives users a unified place to organize to-dos, add deadlines, review completed tasks and more. Use it to create your own back-to-school shopping list and organize your homework assignments, too.

Price: $9.99 from iTunes

More back-to-school shopping tips

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.


Top image via iStock.