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How to Afford the Back to School Blitz


The bell is ringing and it is time for students across the country to head back to school. Our experts are here to help parents strategize and make the back-to-school season more affordable and rewarding.

Updated on January 20, 2022
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As another summer of sunburns and chaos draws to a close, parents everywhere collectively sigh in relief as the return to school looms large on family calendars. And with that comes a whirlwind of shopping – everything from back-to-school clothes to schoolbag necessities and even smart lunch-planning ideas are hitting the to-do lists for parents of kids of all ages. And it’s all adding up on their credit card bills.

Keeping up with the cost of incidentals can be tough for anyone at any time, but parents know better than most just how much things add up, and how fast. From kindergarteners having their first big day at school to college students kitting out their first dorm room with multipurpose kitchen appliances, parents brace themselves for big credit card bills.

That’s why it’s prudent to have a credit card that pays you back for all those times kid-related bills come in. Like when you buy new shoes because one fell out of your kid’s school bag, or you have to buy cookies for a bake sale, or install shiny dental hardware on their crooked teeth.

Get Rewarded for Must-Have Purchases

Nobody wants to rack up debt, but the reality is that back-to-school expenses are almost unavoidable. Keep costs down by visiting thrift stores or looking for flash sales and subscribing to flyers so you can pounce on the best prices, but you likely won’t avoid school-related spending.

So, for all those things you can’t cut costs on, look for credit cards that offer no-interest purchases and cash back on your first few months of purchases. For example, the will give you , but you’ll also get (), plus a solid . So, get cash back on everything from those dental bills to packed lunches and paying for the gas guzzled from running all the pre-school errands.

The welcome offer from may seem less enticing, as you can , but it pays , with no limits. Plus, it also has (). There are other fine-print details that may appeal to parents, like having up to $600 of protection on your cell phone for damage or theft, when you pay the cellular bill with your credit card. That might take a load off when your teen’s phone bounces out of their pocket and shatters during a pick-up game of basketball.

Pick a Card for Your Lifestyle

There are all kinds of cards out there, which is why it’s important to check out the competition. You’ll find our articles and card reviews helpful in making choices. Maybe it’s the that could work for you, with , while giving

As a parent, cards that offer travel perks and dining perks may not be the most advantageous to you. There’s a big difference in getting 3% back on a ritzy 5-star night of dining in the city versus the same on a convenient bucket of KFC for family movie night. Instead, a card like the might pay back a lot more if you can strategically plan purchases to fall into their 5% quarterly promoted categories, like buying groceries or gas, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, they offer a – so the smarter you are about finding cash-back rewards, the better you’ll do at year-end – and you can spend your reward cash at the Amazon.com checkout too.

Whatever hobbies and sports your kids are in, you know expenses are heading your way this year. If you take the time to list your expected back-to-school obligations for the year ahead – from football uniforms to college schoolbooks and trips home at the holidays – you will see better which cash-back programs can pay off best for you. This year, when school’s back, make sure you’re getting cash back on your credit card bills too.