Smart spending: Finding back-to-school deals

JOSEPH PISANIAP Business Writer Published:

Stores are going all out to pull you in the door for back-to-school shopping.

That's because every retailer wants a piece of the $83.8 billion that the National Retail Federation expects Americans will spend this back-to-school season.

JCPenney is offering kids free haircuts and Microsoft is giving out a free Xbox if you buy a computer. Sound tempting? Put your armor on.

In order to actually save money, you need to focus on getting the deals and avoid getting sucked into buying stuff you don't need. To get you started, here is a selection of some of the better back-to-school discounts big retailers are offering:

CLOTHING

Teen retailers are cutting prices on their jeans. All of American Eagle Outfitter's blue jeans are $29.99 for a limited time, as much as $20 below regular price. At Abercrombie & Fitch, all jeans are $39 until Aug. 21. Regular priced jeans at Abercrombie can cost between $70 and $90.

Sears and many other retailers offer discounts on clothing and shoes at stores in states that have tax holidays.

The free haircuts at JC Penney are for kids during August and only at stores that have a salon. You need to book in advance.

SUPPLIES

Wal-Mart is pricing 100 items, ranging from lunch bags to notebooks, at 88 cents throughout August.

And every week until Labor Day, Office Depot is selling a select number of products for pocket change. You can find scissors for 8 cents and pocket folders for a penny.

ELECTRONICS

RadioShack is offering 10 percent off to students on lower-priced electronics like power strips, batters and calculators. The discount is available at about 1,000 RadioShack locations near major college campuses.

When students buy a select Windows desktop or laptop computer from Dell, Hewlett Packard or Samsung, they can get a free Xbox 360 video game system.

Students who buy an Apple Mac before Sept. 21 will get a $100 iTunes gift card to buy music, apps or books. Buy an iPad and you'll get a $50 gift card.

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