2 apps make back-to-school shopping worth it

School has started already for some of you, and school is about to start for the rest. Let's get ready by saving some money.

I know the focus is back-to-school supplies: books, crayons, glue, that sort of thing, but back-to-school sales are everywhere for all sort of items. Now let's try to add extra discounts onto that sale.

I use this a lot. Rakuten. It used to be called Ebates. Let's say you see something you want on another retailer's site. Before you buy it, pop over to Rakuten and sign up to see if it's offering additional deals. You get money back on purchases, as well. I've gotten almost $74 back - in a check mailed to me - for shopping through this site. Also, check out Offers where you can click on coupons.

OK, getting back to school also involves some meal prep. Here are three ways to get going. Have the kids make a list of what they'd like this year. Plan a shopping day. Decide what you can get now and freeze. 

And finally, it's time. Yes, doctors say children 8-9 years old can pack their own lunches. But you have to  help by having things handy. Have things like cheese and hard-boiled eggs ready to roll for the week. Get some snack jars filled. This eliminates the fighting over what snack they want. They get what's in the jars.