Around August 1st every year the newspapers and television are filled with Back to School ads. It’s a reminder that summer is almost over, and the kids will be going back to school soon. Back to School shopping can turn into a money pit for parents who are not mindful of all the items that need to be purchased for school.
Shopping for Back to School items and clothing may cause great stress for many parents. There is a need to not only purchase the required school supplies but also to purchase many needed more expensive items like calculators, laptops, USB drives, new clothes, and of course the latest shoes.
Based on their annual survey, the President and CEO of the National Retail Federation, Matthew Shay states, “With the economy thriving thanks to tax reform and growing consumer confidence, we expect to see a very strong season.” College spending is expected to be at its highest level ever, and back-to-school will be one of the three highest years on record.”
Also, the survey shows that Back to School shoppers plan on spending the most on clothing at just under $237. They also plan on spending $187 on electronics, $139 on shoes and $122 on school supplies
If you are a parent and you’re worried about the financial expense of shopping for the new school year, don’t despair just yet, there are plenty of ways to cut your Back to School bill.
Here are several tips to help you save some money and keep your sanity.
- Ask for a supply list
Nowadays most schools provide a supply list on the school website. If your school does not have a supply list on the school website, reach out to the administration to get one. There is no need to go shopping if you do not know for sure what your child will need.
- Take inventory
Chances are good your kids did not use all of their supplies last year. Take time to find any unused or slightly used supplies. Check their closets, drawers, and backpack from last year. While you’re taking inventory, you should go ahead and talk to your kids about clothes that still fit and ones they have outgrown. For outgrown clothes, you might be able to sell at a consignment shop and use the money towards this year’s supplies.
- Make a list and stick to a budget
Now that you have a supply list and you know what items you already have its time to make your shopping list and create a budget based on that list. You could even involve your kids in making the budget, so they can understand how far money goes when comparing their wants versus their needs.
- Look for sales and coupons early
As soon as you start seeing the flyers about Back to School, you need to pay attention to any sales and coupons that can help you stay within your budget. Also, spreading out your shopping over a few weeks can help with your budget plus it’s a good way to ensure you take advantage of multiple sales.
Use these tips this Back to School season and save more than money…save your sanity too!
- Check consignment shops
Consignment shops can be a great place to find gently used clothing because all of the clothes being sold have already been looked over and vetted to make sure they are in usable condition. Also, many consignment shops have sales at the end of the summer in order to make room for next season’s clothing.
- Don’t forget the Dollar Stores
You can get some great bargains on basic school supplies at the dollar stores. Why not only pay one dollar for items like notebooks, notebook paper, pencils as well as other classroom supplies like tissues and hand sanitizer. Dollar stores are often overlooked by most shoppers but can be a great place to help you stay on budget.
- Compare Prices
One way to ensure you get the best deal is to do comparison shopping. Remember to go through those Back to School ads and compare them to find the best deals. Also, don’t forget to compare prices online too. We all know Amazoni can be a great place to get good prices on select back to school items, especially electronics.
One great way to comparison shop is via your smartphone. There are plenty of apps to help. One of those apps is ShopSavvyii. ShopSavvy is a mobile app that scans product barcodes and finds other online and local stores providing those products. Additionally, ShopSavvy compares the prices and even displays user reviews. You will need a barcode scanner installed on your device.
- Shop adult office supplies
Kids binders and notebooks can be more expensive because they are decorated with their favorite characters from their favorite tv shows or their favorite super hero. Office supply stores carry solid color binders and notebooks. You can then have your kids decorate them with stickers and markers to make them one of a kind.
- Shop price matching stores
Shopping price matching stores can save you the hassle and time of driving all over town to get the best prices at different stores. Typically, all you need to do is show an ad, either in print or online, from comparable stores. You should check the price matching policy of each store before shopping..
- Shop online
It can be much easier to stick to your list and do comparison shopping from the comfort of your own home. You will not only save the hassle of the crowds, but you’ll also save on gas money by not having to drive all over town to get the best deals. Additionally, you will not be enticed by the in-store displays and be able to stick to your budget.
- Wait for sales tax holidays
Many states offer tax-free weekends, allowing back to school shoppers the opportunity to buy items without having to pay tax. Covered items often include school supplies, clothes, and certain electronics.
The Bottom Line
Before you know it, summer will be over, and the kids will be going back to school. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for Back to School items. Start the process now and follow the tips above to keep from breaking the bank this Back to School season.
i Amazon.com., Inc., Amazon Services LLC and/or its affiliates ("Amazon"), are protected by United States and international copyright and trademark laws. Any reference obtained from this blog to a specific product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by Big Picture Loans of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider.
ii Monolith Technologies, Inc., is doing business as Shopsavvy. Shopsavvy might be protected by United States and international copyright and trademark laws. Any reference obtained from this blog to a specific product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by Big Picture Loans of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider.