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Save on back-to-school prep by using your credit card

By , CardRatings contributor

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School's out but summer won't last forever. Save money now on back-to-school prep by shopping smart with your credit cards.

By shopping now, you'll land some great deals and avoid the headache of shopping during the back-to-school rush.

Get a jump on that back-to-school wardrobe

Earn 3 percent cash back any time you shop for school wardrobe essentials with Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express at department stores including Bealls, Bloomingdale's, Dillard's, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Sears and Kohl's.

Earn 5 percent cash back on summer clothing specials at Kohl's with the Chase Freedom® card from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2014. You can also be ready to pounce on deals on winter wear come Oct. 1, when, through Dec. 31, 2014 you can earn 5 percent cash back at Amazon, Zappos and department stores including JCPenney, Macy's, Nordstrom and Sears with your Chase Freedom card.

By shopping online through Cash Back Boost with a Chase Freedom, cardholders can earn an additional 10 percent cash back when you shop at JCPenney, an additional 5 percent cash back when you shop at Macy's, Anthropologie, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Sears and an extra 3 percent cash back at Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap and American Eagle Outfitters.

Cash in on school supplies

Shop online for school supplies over the summer and pocket a nifty, additional cash-back bonus.

When you shop online through Cash Back Boost from Chase Freedom, you will earn 2 percent extra cash back at Wal-Mart, 3 percent extra cash back at Target and 5 percent extra cash back at Kmart.

Shop smart for computers

Get great cash-back deals on computers and accessories by shopping through online portals on credit card websites.

Shop online through Cash Back Boost from Chase Freedom and you can earn an additional 2 percent cash back at the Apple Store and Best Buy and an additional 5 percent cash back at Dell and Microsoft.

Choose a credit card with an extended warranty when making big back-to-school purchases such as a computer. That way you will have some added protection if something goes wrong with a son or daughter's brand-new laptop for school not long after the original manufacturer's warranty expires. 

Save on school lunches

Keep the kids happy with their favorite summer treats and snacks and earn 6 percent cash back on supermarket purchases with Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. Scoop up that same 6 percent cash back savings come fall, when it's time to shop for and pack school lunches. Participating retailers include Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie and Foodtown.

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