Credit Sesame Back to School Giveaway: Shopping Tips & $75 Gift Card

Click here for more contests & giveaways!


Prize: One winner will receive a $75 Gift Card to help with back-to-school expenses
Number of winners allowed: 1
Ends: Friday August 23rd 2013

According to a new Deloitte survey, parents will spend an average of $428 per child on back-to-school expenses for the 2013 season. That’s a hard sum to swallow for any parent, especially if you’ve got multiple children in school. Credit Sesame ( is offering a $75 gift card to help out with back to school expenses. And Credit Sesame savvy shopping expert Jill Cataldo has created some strategic shopping tips that will stretch your back to school budgets.

Tip #1: Save on School Supplies: Do not buy your child’s entire list of school supplies in the same store. It’s tempting to go down the list, adding pencils, glue, binders and the like to your shopping cart. Breathe a sigh of relief, and the shopping’s done, right? Right – but you’ve also significantly overpaid for your child’s supplies. Mass retailers and office supply stores will have many school supplies priced as “loss leaders,” such as .25 glue sticks, .20 notebooks, .10 folders. I keep my children’s lists with me, and as I am out and about, I’ll pick up only the items that are at super-low prices for the current week. As the first day of school draws near, I’ll look at the list and see if I need to purchase any other items. Usually, I’ve gotten the majority of the products picked up for the lowest possible prices, freeing up funds to purchase anything else that’s needed.

Tip #2: Retailer Credit Cards: If you have store-specific retailer credit cards, ask your store if they’re currently running any discounts tied to them. Kohls, Target, and other retailers offer promotions where you’ll receive a percent-off discount when you pay with the store card. If the retailer isn’t running any special promotions, though, you’re better off using a general credit card, like your Visa, Mastercard, AMEX or Discover. Retail cards typically have lower credit limits and high interest rates, and this means your debt-to-credit ratio could negatively impact your credit score.

Keep in mind that stores may offer financial incentives to open a store credit card – cash off your total purchase, or a free product. If you’re currently carrying credit card debt, consider the high interest rates that retailer credit cards typically carry. If you plan to carry a balance on that store card, the “free” $25 you got when you signed up will quickly disappear when you’re paying interest rates as high as 20% or more.

Another factor to remember -- applying for that retailer credit card will almost always lead to a lower credit score. Saving 10% on $425 of school supplies might seem like a good idea, but trading a “free” $42 for a lower credit score could cost you thousands in added interest down the road if you carry a balance. And, a lower credit score affects you long after you got a discount at the register. A lower credit score can lead to a more expensive mortgage, refinance, or new purchase in your future.

Tip #3: Shopping Online: Your credit card may award you a percentage savings. Through the month of August, Discover card is offering 10% cash back when you shop online at popular retailers, including Macy’s, JC Penney, Kmart, and Foot Locker. Other online stores, including Carsons, Aeropostale, Old Navy and Gap are offering 5% cash back. I always look for coupon codes too when shopping online – coupon sites like and keep track of percent-off and free-shipping offers for many online shops.

Tip #4: General Credit Card Rewards: When I shop with credit, I always use a rewards card of some kind – whether I’m getting cash back, hotel points or the like, it’s better than simply paying for items without receiving that bonus. We took a vacation earlier this year, and we enjoyed free hotel-room stays for half our trip because I’d earned enough bonus points for free nights! I’m a big fan of cash-back credit cards too – when the bill comes at the end of the month, I’ll use my cash-back rewards to help pay the balance of the bill.

Tip #5: Sales Tax Holidays: Quite a few states are also having state sales-tax holidays, in which you will not have to pay sales tax for back-to-school supplies, clothing, shoes and electronics. Check with your state’s department of revenue to determine if your state is offering sales tax holidays.

Credit Sesame hopes these tips are helpful. Enter to win a $75 gift card to help out with back to school expenses.

This sweepstakes is void where prohibited by applicable law. The sweepstakes is open and offered only to legal residents of the United States age 13 or older. Winners may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility as a condition to the delivery of the applicable prize. Employees and their immediate families/household members of and their respective parent companies, affiliates, and subsidiaries are not eligible to enter the sweepstakes.

How to Enter
No purchase necessary. To enter, submit all required information on the entry form. All entries must include the entrant's name, age, a valid email address and shipping address (no P.O. Boxes) for any potential prize shipments. The first and last name provided by online entrants will be the identity of the entrant and, if selected for a prize, the identity of the winner. We reserve the right to disqualify any entries that we believe in good faith has been generated by a so-called spam or automated e-mail program or via scripts and automated submission. By participating, all entrants agree to abide by these rules.

Prizes are specified on the entry page. Entries and prizes are nontransferable. No substitutions are permitted, except that sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater monetary value for the grand prize. Winners shall be responsible and liable for any federal, state, and local taxes on the value of their prize.

A random drawing will take place within 10 days of the end of the sweepstakes. The number of eligible entrants will determine odds of winning. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting the entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the person in whose name the email account is registered. The decisions of are final and binding in all matters relating to this sweepstakes. Winner will be notified by email and/or telephone, as determined by or its affiliated contest host. If a winner is found to be ineligible, an alternate winner may be also be selected from the pool of eligible entries. There is a limit of one entry per person per day.

General Conditions and Releases
An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the sweepstakes if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these official rules, as determined at the discretion of shall not be liable for: 1. Failed, returned, or misdirected notifications based on inaccurate information provided by the winner on the sweepstakes entry form, 2. Entries, and responses to winner notifications that are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, postage-due, misdirected, damaged, or otherwise not received by the intended recipient in whole or in part or for computer or technical error of any kind, 3. Any electronic miscommunications or failures, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmissions which may limit an entrant's ability to participate in the sweepstakes, 4. Any technical malfunctions of the telephone network, computer online system, computer equipment, software, program malfunctions, or other failures, delayed computer transactions, or network connections that are human, mechanical, or technical in nature, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant's or any other person's computer related to or resulting from downloading any part of this sweepstakes or 5. Any warranty of fitness or merchantability of any prize or the function or operation thereof, which shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of the prize.

Unless prohibited by applicable law, entry constitutes permission to use an entrant's name, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant.

By entering or accepting a prize in the sweepstakes, winners agree to be bound by these official sweepstakes rules and to conform to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the winner will be required to execute and return to within five business days an affidavit of eligibility and a liability and publicity release to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner will be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address, and birth date in order to receive prize. By entering, an entrant agrees to release and hold harmless the artist, and their parent, subsidiary, and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively claims) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize in their participation in this promotion, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, regardless of whether such claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Any person attempting to defraud or in any way tamper with this sweepstakes will be ineligible for prizes and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. reserves the right to modify the rules of the sweepstakes in any way or at any time. reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this sweepstakes should viruses, bugs, or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security, or proper play of the sweepstakes. This sweepstakes shall be governed by Connecticut state law. By participating in this sweepstakes, entrants agree that Connecticut courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this sweepstakes, and that venue shall only be in Connecticut.