We know that the cost to go “back to school” is extremely expensive and seems to increase every year. Whether your child is starting kindergarten or heading off to college this year, families have a hard time getting everything on the school supplies list without breaking the bank.
Many parents begin looking at back to school flyers and ads in August to get a head start and see what their costs will run. Well, lucky for you, we have a few tips to help you become a smart back to school shopper this year.
1. Check at home:
Believe it or not, you probably have a lot of school supplies lying around your house. Closets, desk drawers, and basement bins might hold hidden treasure that can save you money. Start by rounding up any school supplies that you already own and start making a list. Take this list with you shopping so you know what you do not need.
2. Set limits:
As your kids get older, they will want you to buy the latest and greatest school supply items. Binders and backpacks with famous celebrities on them. Back to school items that are popular and character-focused will quickly break your budget. So, set limits with your kids and teach them about money-based values. A tip is to let your children pick two specialty items and the rest of their supplies will be at bargain prices.
3. Visit the dollar store:
You can get some serious bargain prices at the dollar store. Make sure to start looking around in summer months because you never know what stores will order or how long items will be in stock. Basic school supplies like notebooks and pencils are available at the dollar store.
4. Use coupons:
Back to school coupons are extremely handy and very popular. Start looking in the Sunday paper and online for school supplies coupons. If you do not want to have the hassle of driving around to different stores, remember that Walmart offers price and coupon matching.
5. Buy in bulk:
Buying in bulk can save your family a lot of money when it comes to school supplies. If you have a lot of kids in your family; pens, crayons, and glue will go on sale in bulk quantities. Wholesale stores like Costco, normally sell school supplies for cheap in bulk. If you are unsure about buying a pack of 100 pens, talk to your friends and see if you can pool your money and divide your supplies evenly.
6. Use cash:
Use cash instead of credit cards to pay for your back to school supplies. Paying with cash allows you to keep an eye on your spending and stay in your budget.
7. Timing is everything:
The big rush for back to school shopping normally starts around August and again in January. If you avoid peak times and buy after the big rush, you can save lots of money. Whatever retail stores have left after August, they normally put on sale for 50%-75% off. However, keep in mind that this sometimes limits selection.
We don’t want to make you stressed out for back to school shopping, we want to make it easy!! School supplies shopping can quickly creep up on you and quickly break your bank. The best way to start saving money is to plan ahead. We hope these tips will help you become a savvy back to school shopper this year.
Money Crashers (www.moneycrashers.com)