School Supplies (1)

Money-saving strategies for back-to-school shopping

If you were busy making the most out of the fading days of summer and missed Tax-Free Weekend, don’t fret. We’ve compiled some tips and strategies to keep expenses to a minimum as you gear up to send the kids back to school.

Nine tips to save on back-to-school shopping:

  1. Get organized before the big shop. You may be surprised by how many school supplies you can find around the house and in backpacks that haven’t been touched since June. Take a quick inventory of items you already have and cross them off the list.
  2. Look to the closets for some extra cash. If you can’t cross many items off your list, tackle the closets. Make a pile of unwanted clothing to take to a nearby consignment store and earn yourself some bonus spending money.
  3. Host a neighborhood back-to-school swap. Get together with other parents and trade clothes, books, toys, anything! This is also a great opportunity to arrange carpools and get to know the kids in your child’s class this year.
  4. Establish a budget. After some online research to determine ballpark prices, decide how much you’re willing to spend. Your children may be drawn to the more expensive items, but you can use this opportunity to teach them the importance of sticking to a budget. Explain that if they want the fuzzy, glittery notebooks, they have to opt for the less expensive pens and markers.
  5. Shop end-of-season sales. Many stores will put summer clothing and shoes on clearance first, before Labor Day sales for cooler weather clothing. Don’t pay full price for clothing that will hit the sale racks next week.
  6. Get the basics at your local grocery store. Pens, paper, even notebooks can often be found at your local grocer or office supply shop. Your kids will be less distracted with a limited selection which can save you time and money.
  7. Pay attention to grocery store sales. Lunches may not be on your child’s back-to-school list, but they’re important to keep in mind as you’re budgeting for the school year ahead. When planning lunches, opt for weekly sale items and produce from local farmers markets. You’ll add variety to the menu while saving money and supporting local growers.
  8. Personalize school supplies. The cheap white binders don’t have to be boring. Make picture collages from magazines, monograms or artwork to spruce them up. You’ll be spending less, and they’ll have a notebook that’s one of a kind.
  9. Take advantage of student discounts. Many stores offer discounts to those with a student ID. Always ask at the register if they’re offering back to school or student discounts to be sure you don’t miss out.

We understand back-to-school season can be filled with excitement for the kiddos, but stress for the parents. We want to help!

What were the most expensive items on your kids’ back-to-school list? Maybe there were items that were nearly impossible to find. Tell us in the comments below and we’ll compile some money- and time-saving strategies to help conquer your back-to-school shopping blues.