How to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping
Remember that exciting back-to-school feeling as a child? The smell of fresh stationary, collaging your textbooks, and wearing new clothes are all fond memories you will cherish forever. But for parents, it’s an entirely different experience. It’s equal parts excitement at seeing your kids' joy, and dread at the dent their school supplies will have on your wallet. But it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune every year. Scroll down for some great ideas on how to save on back-to-school supplies.
The influx of back-to-school sales this time of year can make your head spin. The options are endless and discount coupons are everywhere, but these can be hard to keep track of. The best way to keep an eye out for the big sales is to follow the big majors on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You can really shop around this way and monitor your favorite stores for the best deals. Some of the stores to follow on Twitter are Staples, OfficeMax, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Best Buy.
When it comes to school supplies, your kids will probably beg you for the big name brands and the latest character products from their favorite movies. But these can be costly, and despite all the shameless pleading before school starts, we can guarantee they’ll want an upgrade once they see their friends are using something different. So invest in the classics that you know they won’t be over in a few month’s time. If they really have to have it, you can set limits and allow them to choose one or two expensive items. It’s also a good time to introduce them to the concept of money management and educate them on the difference in quality.
With so many school supplies to purchase, it pays to be organized. You don’t want to waste money on buying too many of one thing and not enough of another. Collect all the back-to-school supply lists from your kids’ schools and put them all together in one main list. Then add all the clothing, shoes, and extra accessories and mark each item off the list as you buy it. This step really is key to setting a realistic budget and sticking to it.
When you’re doing your grocery shopping, be sure to check out the stationary aisle. Your local supermarket always stocks a range of back-to-school items, and you might find there are some better deals there. You could even spread it out and add a few things from your list every time you go. This will definitely make it a lot easier on your wallet, and it will save you time, too.
While the big chains do have some major deals, it also pays to check out your local dollar store. These stores stock a range of stationary at great prices all year round, so you’re bound to find some incredible bargains on basic supplies like notebooks and pencils. There are plenty of smaller stores that offer competitive rates, too, so keep an eye out for any specials being advertised in your neighborhood. You just never know what stores will jump on the back-to-school bandwagon.
We usually think of eBay or Craigslist for furniture or clothing—this guide will teach you how—but did you know they are also great for sourcing specialty and high-end back-to-school supplies, too? We love these thrifty sites for bargains, but they’re also great for selling last year’s school uniforms, or lightly worn clothing and shoes your kids grew out of. You could make back some of the money you spent!