How to Back to School Shop on a Budget
One thing every student has to do in order to prepare for the upcoming school year is shop for supplies. While many look forward to this, most parents dread it because of the cost. Even minimal supplies can be expensive, especially for those who have more than one child. While preparing for this event is unavoidable, it doesn’t have to be budget shattering. There are many easy ways to save, with some of the most helpful tips listed below.
1. Shop For Clothes Off Season
One of the best ways for families to save money on school clothes is by purchasing them once the season is over. This is when retailers clearance seasonal clothing up to 70% and sometimes even more. For those who need uniforms, those are generally priced the lowest once the school year is over.
Tip: Store credit cards often offer additional discounts, such as 5-25% off. Although this does mean taking on a credit card, if a balance is not carried it has the potential to save families quite a bit of money.\
2. Find the Best Sales
Department and clothing stores generally have back to school sales in August right before most students go back to school. These offer some great deals, especially on everyday supplies such as pencils and papers. However, shoppers should be diligent about comparison shopping to make sure they are truly getting the best deal. While browsing store ads can help with this, there are also smartphone apps that offer price comparison in an instant.
3. Take Inventory Ahead of Time
Almost every household has pens, pencils, and notebooks lying around. This is why before going shopping, it’s a g
reat idea for families to write down what they already have. This can help parents avoid overspending on items that they simply don’t need and won’t use. To help keep these contained, it’s recommended to use a storage bin that’s specifically designated for school supplies.
4. Trade Clothing with Friends
For adults who have friends with children who are near the same age, it’s beneficial to trade clothing. Another option is to connect with neighborhood parents, as many are willing to trade or sell gently used clothing for affordable prices. There are neighborhood networking groups on social media that make it easy to find other families, such as on Facebook.
5. Buy Store Brand Products
Brand names don’t necessarily mean higher quality products, as many store brands are just as good or even better than their higher priced counterparts. One of the best ways to determine which option is better quality is to read reviews online. However, with the savings families will see by purchasing store brand products, it’s worth the risk to purchase them instead.
6. Make a List
It can be easy to forget what is purchased when it comes to gathering school supplies, especially with multiple children. To make it easier to stay on track and avoid buying unnecessary goods, a list is crucial. If shopping between multiple stores, a separate list should be made for each.
7. Create a Spending Limit
For parents with older children or teenagers, expenses can skyrocket. This is when it’s helpful to set a spending limit to show the child or children how much they have spent. As an added benefit, this can allow them to choose what they want to spend more on and what they’re willing to buy cheaper.
8. Use Coupons
Most manufacturers offer coupons in the Sunday paper as well as in shopping apps for many retailers. Those who use these can save quite a bit, especially when they shop with stores that double coupons.
Staying on budget when shopping for back to school is absolutely possible with the tips listed above. For any size family, the savings can reach hundreds of dollars per year or more. This can mean more money for other supplies or being able to build savings for a vacation, making it well worth the effort.
Good luck back to school shopping!