Nobody wants to spend a fortune on school supplies. These 10 tips will help you save money on your back to school shopping!
What happened to summer? I know it’s still officially summer for awhile longer but is it just me or does it always feels like fall is here when school starts. It’s already time to go back to school shopping and this year the budget will double because my little Keira is going to be in Pre-K…sniff, sniff. She is so excited about going to school like “big sissy” and has been asking me daily when we’re going to buy her book bag. I guess it’s time to pull out the wallet!
Luckily, between being a (former) teacher and also a mom, I’ve picked up a few money saving tricks along the way. Back to school shopping doesn’t have to break the bank.
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Shop The Circulars
I rarely buy the Sunday paper anymore because I just don’t have the time to read it. However, I make an exception when back-to-school shopping rolls around. Checking out the circulars helps save a lot of time before I even leave the house. Different stores have different deals and it’s worth it to check them all out! When you are looking at the deals, start with the bigger items and work your way backwards. You’re obviously going to save more money on a marked down book bag than you will on a discounted pack of crayons.
Check out the dollar stores
If you’re looking for basic supplies like pencils, pens, erasers, etc, the dollar stores are the way to go. You can’t get much cheaper than a dollar, right? The only thing to look out for is when a teacher requests a specific brand. If they’re specifically requesting Crayola crayons and Elmers glue sticks, there’s usually a good reason (generic crayons and glue sticks just aren’t as good).
Find school clothes at consignment stores
I hate to admit this but I used to be a consignment store snob. I just felt strange buying clothes that had been worn before. That was until my good friend told me she shopped at consignment stores all the time. She had plenty of money, she just loved finding the deals. I figured if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me and now I don’t know what took me so long! I’ve found some really cute clothes in consignment stores and you definitely can’t beat the price! Try not to wait until the last minute though…others may have the same idea and the selection could be picked over by the time you get there.
Take advantage of the tax-free holiday
If you live in a state that offers a tax free holiday, you may want to check it out. I go back and forth on this one because sometimes it’s just not worth dealing with the crowds. However, now that I’m shopping for two, I think we’ll brave it because those book bags and lunchboxes add up fast. If you need a big ticket item like a computer, check to see if it’s included because that tax can add up to a big chunk of money.
Shop your house
You may have some of the supplies you need right under your nose. I know for a fact that we’ve got markers, pencils and colored pencils that have never even been used…might as well throw them in with the school supplies!
Use social media to your advantage
If there are certain stores that you know you’ll be shopping at, follow them on social media. Many stores will post sales alerts and coupons to add to your savings.
Stick to your list
I don’t know about your kids but mine see something new and shiny and they HAVE to have it. This is where little things can add up…if it’s not on the list, skip it.
Buy in bulk
If you find a great deal on something that you know you’ll be buying every year, why not buy a few extra to make next year’s shopping even easier. You may not want to do it with glue sticks or markers but pencils, paper, and notebooks are going to be just fine.
Wait until after the school year begins
You’ll find plenty of discounted clothes now but if your kids can wait a little longer for their back to school clothes, the deals will be even better. As soon as school starts, those prices go down, giving you more bang for the buck.
Buy supplies that will last all year
So many of my students would come to school with the latest, greatest character book bag, only to have it fall apart by Christmas. The same goes for cheap plastic pencil boxes (though the thicker plastic holds up well). You’re not saving money if you’re having to buy supplies all over again in January. Be sure that whatever you pick out is going to last at least until the next back-to-school shopping season begins.
What are your favorite ways to save money on back to school supplies? Did I leave out any good ones?
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