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Check out this great tip from Hip2Save reader, Karen…

Two years ago, I bought my kids new backpacks for school. Within the first month, we had a zipper break and a strap break. I did not have the receipts and could not remember where I had purchased them so I had to fork out more money for new ones..again.

Last year we had to buy new ones again as the ones from the year before were in pretty bad condition. This time I cut the tags off and paper clipped them to the receipt. I then put each child’s name on the backpack tags so I would know which tags went with which bag. I slid them in an envelop and filed them away. I also did this with their lunch bags. Sure enough, one month into school we had another broken strap (how does this happen?) and a seam that came apart and on a lunchbox, one of the zippers broke. I had all my tags in one place and it was a very easy, painless exchange! This year I only have to replace one backpack and all three lunch bags, but I have already started my envelope and am ready just in case!

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Comments 68

  1. JG

    I found that I needed this kind of system for almost everything I purchase (especially clothes)…unfortunately the quality of anything decent priced these days ends up being a big disappointment more often than not. If I can’t get through an item’s first use without something going wrong, I don’t hesitate to return it!

  2. guest

    Doesnt LLBean do lifetime replacement on Backpacks and lunch kits bought directly through them? I think so. I’ve heard from friends that their $60 backpacks are well worth it.

    • Sally

      This is right. LLBean has lifetime replacement on their backpacks. This is what we did for our kids and whenever they break or messup LLBean is always so helpful in replacing them for us. I would never by a backpack from anywhere else.

    • Anne

      LL Bean backpacks, regardless of size or price, are very well worth spending a little extra up front. They are very well made and if you do have any problem you can get a replacement with no problem. I have purchased bags in the past at Toys R Us or Walmart and something always happens. I then end up buying another and spending, in total, almost as much as a bag from LL Bean. Can’t go wrong 🙂

    • Pinky

      LLBean has that on everything from their store. Buy a pair of jeans and have them get a tear, you can get a new pair.

    • Crystal Goodwin

      You are abslutely right. I bought one for my son when he was going into middle school. He choose a black and grey model. He used it all though middle school and high school with any problems. This was a kid who was always really tough on clothes, toys and just about anything. Last time that I saw it, he had it full of gunshelsl for duck season.
      I did offer to buy a new one for high school but he declined.
      Now, my youngest daughter is doing the same thing, she has an LL Beam book bag that is 3 years old. I offer to buy her a new one this year for 8th grade and she declined also. Says it’s her good luck bag.
      It’s great to be able to return something, but most of the time it can be a hassle plus I feel a waste of time and gas.
      They are well worth the extra money upfront, you will save alot in the long run.
      Kids today carry alot of heavy books around.

      Crystal

      • steph

        Got smart and did the same for both of my kids in the 8th grade. They graduated with them. LOL

    • jess

      I LOVE LLBean. My mom bought me a purple LLBean backpack with my name on it when I was in 9th grade. I still have it and it still has not torn, or worn (and I’ve washed it in the washing machine several times with no problems) and I am 31! I guess that means I’ve had it 17 years, yikes!

      My sister got an LLBean backpack at the same time, and her zipper broke several years into owning it. She took it to LLBean and they gave her a brand new one, no questions asked, no receipt needed. I have since bought toiletry bags and other bags from them. They are a wonderful company.

  3. nel

    I heard the Toy’s R US backpack insurance is well worth it too but have never used it myself. I just buy a few backpacks at garage sales through the summer and have spares…

  4. candace

    I don’t know if this is still active, but Jansport backpacks used to have a lifetime warranty. My backpack of 4 years finally gave out on me and I still had the receipt and tags and sent it back for free, got it repaired and sent back to me with completely new lining. I did the same for my brother’s and his was so bad, it got replaced. Again, not sure if it’s still like that, but worth a shot to check out.

    • JenniferS

      http://www.jansport.com/shop/VFStaticContentView?storeId=10203&emsName=warranty

      Yes Jansport has a lifetime warranty on their backpacks, check out the link above. A couple years ago I sent in my backpack from junior high school that was literally falling apart. They couldn’t repair, so they replaced it with a brand new backpack. I even got to choose which one I wanted. Awesome company policy, you can find Jansport products very reasonably priced too!

      • Donna

        Did you get a postcard from your backpack talking about zipper races and such? I got a kick out of the postcard Jansport sent us when we had to send my daughter’s in for repair.

    • MommySpendsLess

      Yup! My parents were frugal way before it was ‘hip’ but sometime around middle school they invested in Jansport backpacks for me and my younger brother. I think we sent mine in twice. Honors classes and one set of books meant I was probably carrying way more than the bags (or my body for that matter) were designed for. The first time I think they repaired it. The second time they replaced it but since they no longer sold that exact model they let me pick out another one of similar price. That backpack lasted through 4 years of college and my 4 year old daughter still uses it for weekend trips. Aside from needing an occasional wash it’s in perfect shape.

  5. Kara

    I’ve also heard the Jansport has a great policy where you can send in a backpack and they fix it for free or will replace! I’ve never tried it but had a friend who swore by it!

  6. Juliet

    Good tip, I hate searching for receipts. Lands End backpacks and lunch boxes last forever! My 16 yr. old has a backpack from kindergarten that is still in great condition. Course she has a different one now but used that Kindergarten one for years and still as a car bag on trips now.

    • Erin

      Lands End also has a lifetime warranty. I have all my Lands End receipts in a Lands End shoe box in my bedroom.

      • Marie

        Did that for both of my kids when they were in middle school. They wore like iron and I never had any problems with them. They also monogrammed them for free. Money well spent.

      • Hilary

        I only buy backpacks and lunch bags from Lands End! Our daughter’s backpack went through all of Kindergarten last year and it looks brand new. She’s using it again this year. Well worh the $22 I spent on it last September!

    • vicki

      both of my kids are still using their Lands End backpacks for the 7th year in a row. my daughter is now a junior in highschool, and i’m sure she’ll graduate with hers!

  7. Lori

    Yes, LLBean does! I finally got one this year for my middle schooler after going through 4(!) backpacks last year. It was on sale & free shipping for a total of only $40! Totally worth it. They replace it for life which is great for those kids that are really hard on them…:-)

  8. Lucy Mason

    I have a large container and have found it very rewarding to save my receipts for each month. After the month I throw the bag away. That way I have and also sometimes in a few days I purchase something there is a rebate. Kinda a pain but well worth it.

  9. Letty

    After a few years of going through discount store backpacks and lunchboxes (both the character ones and the generic ones) that would rip or break within months of purchasing them, I started investing in either Lands’ End or L.L.Bean ones. If you hit them on sale you’ll spend roughly the cost of a 2-3 discount branded ones, yes, but you never have to replace them due to breakage!! At least not the ones we’ve had. My kids are actually getting bored of theirs, but when I bought them I told them we wouldn’t replace them unless they grew out of them. All of my kids’ have had theirs for at least 3 years now (my oldest has had hers for over 4) and still in excellent shape! Seriously- they are a valuable investment!

    • Candi

      I got my kids’ backpacks and lunch boxes at Lands End this year after hearing how great they are. I have a friend who said her daughter has had her backpack for 5 years from there.

  10. Rachelle Betow

    If you buy a JanSport backpack, those are well worth it too! I think they range from $20-40 but have lifetime support. I bought my daughter one on sale at Fred Meyer 5 years ago for Kindergarten and now she’s starting 5th grade in a few weeks with the same backpack that looks like new. We haven’t had any issues with it. I had a JanSport when I was a highschooler and the strap broke recently so I contacted them and they fixed it for free and I got my backpack back and can still use it… and it’s like 15 years old. I think the key to being frugal is knowing when it’s good or “okay” to go cheap on great deals and then knowing when to spend extra for something that will be worth it… that expression “the cheap turns out expensive” is SO true. I’ve found this rule to apply to furniture, backpacks and bikes. We wait for “Sales” but know we’re paying more for an item that will last a LONG time rather than buy ‘cheap’ every year. This is my take on it, anyway!

    • Jessica

      My local ROSS has them for 9.99-19.99

  11. Partyof5

    Good idea, but I agree, investing in quality items from Lands’ End or L.L. Bean is totally worth it. My son is starting 4th grade and we have his LL Bean backpack from preschool that his younger sister uses now. My 3 other children have had theirs for at least 3 years.

  12. Nancy

    This is great! My son’s been begging me not to get him the cheap type. How do backpack straps get broken indeed!

  13. kristi

    Jansport has life time warranty. I used it a few years ago, I had no receipt. They sewed it and reinforced it for me. It was wonderful. worth knowing people stand behind their products. I had a friend with one which couldn’t be fixed, they sent her a list to pick from and sent her a new one. worth looking In to.

  14. Erin

    I keep a year’s worth of receipts (grocery, too!) filed by month of purchase in a small index card file box (smaller than a shoe box). I’m always shocked by how many times I need a receipt for a rebate, return/exchange, price adjustment, etc.

  15. Megan

    I’m pretty sure Eddie Bauer has the same guarantee on backpacks. We always used those growing up.

  16. Beverly

    HIgh Sierra also offers a lifetime warranty. They were wonderful to deal with. I did not need a receipt when they replaced my son’s backpack. Staples sells High Sierra backpacks. The’re too big for little kids, but they’re great for middle school, high school and college. I bought one of their backpacks to use when I travel with my laptop. I think they are built well and made to last.

    • tilla ham

      I wish I had known they had a lifetime warranty. I have found their quality the last two years to be lacking. my high schoolers don’t have lockers and their packs are heavy but girls destroyed their backpacks two years running. This year we bought jansports…3 times the price at 65 each but i’m hoping it will be worth it

  17. tracy

    My sister still uses her LL Bean backpack that she got in sixth grade. She is 29 years old.

  18. Angi

    EASTPAK!!! I had a bookbag for 2 years and the strap broke. Contacted them – just curious to see- and they sent me a prepaid box to mail it back. It came back looking brand new. They washed it (or whatever they did). I knew it was the one I sent because of the zipper pulls.

  19. Jill

    great system LOVE IT!!

    I heart LL BEAN!!

    I used a backpack for four yrs of high school and four yrs of college, a trip to germany and two trips to CA (1992-2000ish).. it was still going strong after all that then i loaned it out and never saw it again!!! (darn family).. so i bought a new one on clearance for $20 in 2006 🙂

  20. Sarah

    I bought Land’s End backpacks for all 3 kids 2 1/2 years ago; we’re on our 3rd full year with really no visible wear!

  21. Angela

    I use this policy for everything! Usually you don’t need the tag though. The receipt is enough. If there is a problem almost all stores will make it right.

  22. Lynne DePolitte

    Thank you so much for the great idea. I have owned Jansport and LLBean and both are amazing to deal with. If you price the no name brands at $30 – $40 and price Jansport and LLBean you will see little difference in cost, but the quality and guarantee are worth dramatically better.

  23. Sarah

    Columbia has a lifetime guarantee on their diaper bags, and more than likely on their backpacks too. I have had my messenger diaper bag replaced twice by them. The second time they sent the wrong style. When I called they sent the right style and told me to keep the wrong one instead of mailing it back. 🙂

  24. Paige

    Under Armour also guarantees their items for life!! With receipt!

    • Kari

      Thank you for posting about Under Armour! My husband has an awesome backpack from UA that he uses for rugby and it got a big tear in it. I chatted with CS and they said I could either send it in (they emailed me a pre-paid postage sticker from Fed Ex) and get a new bag or I could take it somewhere and have it repaired since they don’t make that style anymore and he likes it better than the replacement option. I wouldn’t have even known about their guarantee without seeing your comment. Even though I know how great Lands End and LL Bean are I never even thought about an Under Armour guarantee! We don’t have a receipt and it is no problem at all.

      • Kari

        I forgot to say that they will reimburse me the cost of the repair if we choose to take it somewhere! Such good customer sevice!

  25. Michelle M

    This is AWESOME!! I love your organization.

  26. KittyC

    Great idea for saving receipts and price tags. Sure is a hassle to have to return backpacks for straps and zippers breaking so soon.

    Like many of the others, I have never had to buy a new backpack because of something breaking. When my son was 10, I bought him a Fox backpack and he used it for three full school years. I only bought him a new one at the end of last school year because he was going on his 6th grade trip to France and I thought he needed one with an insulated cooler pocket, a sternum strap and a padded laptop sleeve. (The Fox backpack is still in excellent condition after three years of heavy use.)

    To get the features I wanted along with high quality, I ended up choosing a Dakine Campus 33 backpack. I was able to get one on sale at Moosejaw.com for only $34.99! It is AWESOME and VERY good quality. I am sure it will last him several years. I got the backpack in the colorful Palapa design because I thought it would be easy to keep track of.
    http://www.moosejaw.com/moosejaw/shop/product_Dakine-Campus-33_10200304_10208_10000001_-1_

    As it turns out, the backpack DID keep my son and another student from almost getting left behind at a restaurant when they were still in the bathroom. One of the teacher chaperons spotted my son’s colorful backpack sitting on a chair and immediately knew he was still in the restroom!

    In addition to Dakine and Fox, another sturdy brand to look at for backpacks is Burton. These brands all make stuff for snowboarding, skateboarding and motorbiking, so they make quality, sturdy gear for both males and females that is also fashionable and affordable.

  27. Kelly

    Both The North Face and Vera Bradley have lifetime warranties as well. I had a back pack and a diaper bag get broken into by my dogs looking for snacks inside and both companies replaced them at no cost.

  28. Lynda

    Bought my son a lunchbox from Target. He used it today for the first time, and came home with a broken zipper. UGH! do you think they will let me return/exchange it even though I wrote his name on it with a sharpie?

    • KittyC

      If you have your receipt a(or paid with a cc or check so they can locate the purchase) and you just purchased it and it already broke, they SHOULD let you return it! Go try it – the worst they can do is say no. Ask for a manager if needed, I would NOT want to simply exchange it for the same one either – it obviously won’t last. Get your money back! If you have a younger child (under 10) Gymboree has good lunch boxes that last!

    • tracey

      little bit of rubbing alcohol will take most of the sharpie coloring off…I do this all the time.

    • rachel

      They absolutely should…they’re going to mark it defective and are not going to put it back on the shelves if its broken.

  29. Terri

    I bought an Adidas Backpack from Kohls and after a year the strap broke.Adidas has a lifetime warranty, but I didn’t know how that worked so I brought it back to Kohls. I had the tags and receipt so I returned it for a merchandise credit. Returns at Kohls are so easy.

  30. Rachel

    Someone beat me to it, but same suggestion on L.L. BEAN backpacks. You can get one for less than $60…they have some in the $30 range. Definitely worth the investment…I carried the same Bean backpack for over 7 years in school (through middle + high school), it’s now 20 years old, still have it + my dad still uses it to this day!!!

  31. Nora

    I found two backpacks at a local thrift store before the school season started for about 2.00 each. Both are practically new, no stains, writing, rips or tears. Backpacks can be washed and used for multiple occasions so it’s good to have a few on hand. One of the backpacks was Dakine and the other an Eastpack. If you find quality backpacks at a thrift store for less than $5 grab them fill them with supplies and donate.

  32. Jasmine

    I bought a My Little Pony backpack from Kroger for my little lady and got it home and discovered it already had a broken strap. I thought this was a new record! Exchanged it with no issues ;D

  33. Carissa R.

    If you spend the $$$ on a Jansport backpack, you only have to spend it once! They have a lifetime warranty, which I have used 3 times for repairs, and guess what? I have had the same backpack since High School – and I am 33 now! Wouldn’t let my kids choose anything BUT Jansport when they started school – I am faithful and loyal to a company that really does stand behind their products!

  34. cathy

    Beware of Heys USA rolling backpack. I bought 1 at Sears in February 2011. It came with 7 year warranty. It has been used to carry books almost everyday. The wheels get damaged, the bottom of the backpack, zippers, handle.. I’ve done 5 returns. Took about 1 month for turnaround each time. After last return in June, they sent email saying they would not honor any more returns. They offered a messenger bag or small suitcase but a rolling backpack is really what I want. Heys USA doesn’t truly honor their warranty. And their rolling backpack wears out too fast or poor design. I’m thinking of Jansport or LL Bean rolling backpack next.

  35. kristie

    Lands End has a lifetime guarantee on EVERYTHING they sell. They don’t care if you use it for 5 years and decide you don’t like it…they’ll give you a refund. My son has the largest backpack that they make, since his school doesn’t have lockers. The zipper broke the last week of school, in June. I brought it to a Sears store yesterday and they gave me my money back. If you go online to your account info, they can look at your receipt and see how much you paid for the item. When I returned the backpack, the lady asked me how the lunchbox looked! I didn’t even think about bringing it back, but since I no longer have the backpack that matches…

  36. Jessica

    LL Bean and Lands End are the only way to go!

  37. tracey

    ebags has their own line of products with lifetime guarantee and l just love their packing cubes.

  38. Ranger

    Jansport all the way. They have a lifetime warranty. I just recently sent in a 12 year old backpack that ripped at a seam, they sent it back good as new in 2 weeks.

  39. mandy

    Maybe next year you will want to buy Jansport. They have a lifetime warranty-no reciept needed. Hope the new ones hold up.

  40. Julie

    I scanned all of the comments and didn’t see anyone mention POTTERY BARN & POTTERY BARN KIDS. I have yet to find a lunch box like Pottery Barn Kids’ Mackenzie & Fairfax square lunch boxes. No seams inside the bottom for spilled food to get gunked up on. Pour in soapy water and wipe clean. Highly recommend!

  41. Julie

    Sorry – meant to add… PBK ALSO has a guarantee. I’ve never pushed it to see how long they’ll go for but their customer service is excellent.

  42. Dorinda

    LL Bean and Lands End is sooooo worth the money! My kids got 3 years out of LL Bean and still look brand new. I bought them new ones from Lands End this year ONLY because they needed bigger ones….SO WORTH THE MONEY! I will never buy a backpack from any other place besides these 2 awesome places!!

    • Mia

      LL Bean 🙂 the only “bad” thing is that they last so long that kids want a new one! Marshall’s had Jansport backpacks for $24.99 if anyone is interested in that brand. They also had Adidas, justice and more…I was very impressed with their selection…we bought a High Sierra backpack $29.99. My kids insist on new backpacks ever year!

  43. Jamie

    LL bean is the best!

  44. Becky

    What about binders? Does Mead 5 Star have a lifetime guarantee?

    • cathycampo

      i looked at staples.com. the staples better binder has a lifetime guarantee. i’m not quite sure how long that is or the exact policy but sounds pretty good. i looked at mead.com. their binders say they are guaranteed to last all year, so i would assume 1 year max. samsill binders have this policy http://bindersforlife.com/guarantee/
      here is naked binder policy http://www.nakedbinder.com/Articles.asp?ID=260
      i liked reading that they left it in the rain, etc. but they didn’t do a real rough and tumble test like having a kid jump up and down on the soaked binder 100 times and then let it dry and then put in a backpack and slam in on the ground 100 times. (yes, this is more like real life treatment that i have witnessed.) i think that is all possible in the 1st week of school and why many fall apart so soon.

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