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Back-to-School Shopping Tips
Table of Contents
- Back-to-School Shopping Tips
- 1. Set a Realistic Budget
- 2. Check Dollar Stores for Supplies
- 3. Buy Store Brands and Generics
- 4. Shop Discount and Thrift Stores
- 5. Use Coupons and Cash-Back Apps
- 6. Shop School Supply Drives
- 7. Skip the School Supply Kits
- 8. Wait for Back-to-School Sales
- 9. Stick to Necessities
- 10. Buy in Bulk with Other Parents
- 11. Swap Hand-Me-Downs
It’s that time of year again – back-to-school shopping! As a parent on a budget, I know how expensive gearing up for a new school year can be. But having a game plan helps. Before you head to the stores, make a detailed list of everything your kids will need for back-to-school shopping. Start with necessities like school supplies, then add secondary items like clothing and backpacks. Having a list prevents impulse buys and helps you stick to only what you really need.
1. Set a Realistic Budget
Once your list is made, it’s time to map out a realistic back-to-school shopping budget. Review prices both online and in-stores so you can estimate costs for supplies, clothes, shoes, books, electronics, and any school fees. Then factor in what you can reasonably afford to spend. Remember to check for ways to save money in each category too – every bit counts! If possible, involve your kids in budgeting to teach smart shopping habits.
2. Check Dollar Stores for Supplies
Dollar stores can be a budget saver’s paradise when it comes to basic back-to-school shopping supplies like notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, index cards, and more. Let your kids pick out trendy designs for cheap. Many dollar stores even carry seasonal supplies like locker accessories and some technology items. Just remember – skip the impulse buys! Stick to your school supply list.
3. Buy Store Brands and Generics
While flashy name brand notebooks and markers seem cool, the brand name markup isn’t worth it. Instead, choose cheaper store brand, generic, or off-brand versions when buying core school supplies like paper, binders, composition books, pens, pencils, and folders. The quality is often just as good as name brands for these basic items. Opting for the less expensive versions allows you to get more for your money and stick to your back-to-school budget. Your kids will still have the fun supplies they need, and you’ll avoid overspending just for brand name recognition.
4. Shop Discount and Thrift Stores
Discount stores can offer great deals on back-to-school clothing and shoes. For major savings on gently used items, browse consignment shops and thrift stores. Kids grow so fast, many items are practically new! Look for clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and supplies when doing your back-to-school shopping.
5. Use Coupons and Cash-Back Apps
Never shop without scoping out coupons first! Check Sunday newspaper inserts, retailer websites, newsletters and your inbox for promo codes. Use cash-back apps like Rakuten while shopping to earn money back on your purchases. Every little bit adds up over multiple shopping trips.
6. Shop School Supply Drives
Take advantage of back-to-school shopping supply drives run by schools, churches, and community organizations which collect donated items to distribute to families in need. Attending these free events in your area allows you to stock up on essentials like paper, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils and more at no cost. This enables you to conserve your limited shopping budget for other necessary purchases like clothes, shoes, and electronics. Supply drive assistance is available to all families struggling with back-to-school costs. Getting free basic supplies gives you more money to spend on additional required items for your student.
7. Skip the School Supply Kits
Pre-packaged school supply kits sold by stores or schools might seem convenient, but they are usually way overpriced. Make your own kit by buying only the supplies on your teacher’s list that your child actually needs. Resist those glossy but nonessential items.
8. Wait for Back-to-School Sales
The best time to score deals on back-to-school shopping items is in late summer. Retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon all run big back-to-school sales in July and August. Sign up for sale alerts and shop then for deeply discounted school supplies, apparel, backpacks, computers and essential electronics.
9. Stick to Necessities
It’s easy to get lured into buying trendy but nonessential supplies. Stick to the basics on your list first, then use any leftover budget for fun extras. Shop for needs, not wants. Avoid impulse buys and say no to your kids’ pleas for the cool new markers or customized binders. Prioritize needs over desires.
10. Buy in Bulk with Other Parents
Splitting bulk packs of school supplies from warehouse stores like Costco with other parents is a smart way to save money. Buy multiple cases of pencils, notebooks, wipes, tissues and other non-perishables to split up. Just compare your school lists first and agree who will buy what.
11. Swap Hand-Me-Downs
Check with other parents about trading or passing down gently used backpacks, lunch boxes, clothes, shoes, calculators and school gear that still have life in them. Your kids can also swap school clothes and supplies with friends. Hand-me-downs help cut costs.
Gearing up for back-to-school doesn’t have to drain your wallet. With savvy shopping habits, sticking to a list and budget, and utilizing deals and discounts, you can find everything you need at prices you can afford. What tips do you have for saving money on back-to-school shopping? Let me know!