Pencils, crayons, pens, and notebooks mean it’s that time again! All parents know that back-to-school shopping can add up quickly. However, there are things you can do to minimize the cost. This school year, save yourself some money with the following tips.
1. Stick to the list. Any item not on the list provided by your child’s teacher probably isn’t needed. Although kids may beg for extra supplies, make a rule that if something isn’t on the list, you won’t buy it. They can have fun picking out the items that are actually needed.
• If a list wasn’t given out before the first day of school, there’s no need to get carried away and purchase a bunch of stuff your child might not ever use. Get the list as soon as possible; you’ll be in a position to pick up items when they’re on sale.
• Contact the school or look at the school’s website if you haven’t received a copy of the list. Many schools now provide a downloadable version on their website.
2. Shop at home first. You likely have several things at home that can be used. Look in your office for pencils, pens, unused notebooks, notebook paper, and more. Remember to check your child’s book bag, crayons, lunch box, and anything else that comes to mind.
• Items like pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, and scissors can probably be used for years before they need replacement.
3. Consider the source. Many parents immediately think of large super-stores as the best source of school supplies. Remember to consider the offerings of drug stores and even grocery stores.
• Frequently, these less-considered stores can have spectacular sales on many back-to-school supplies just to get shoppers in the door. Check out newspaper inserts and mailed circulars to find out about drugstore sales.
4. Watch for the sales. As the calendar closes in on the beginning of the school year, keep your eyes open. Sales abound, and the smart shopper will be on the lookout for the best deals. Often one store will have notebooks on sale for one cent, while another will have a great sale on pencils.
• Using coupons wisely can save you a ton of money.
• Even if a coupon comes out after you’ve made a purchase, stores will typically honor them. Take your receipt and the coupon back to the store and get that better price.
5. Do you have a tax-free holiday? Many states have tax-free holidays around the start of school. Make sure to check whether your state has a tax free holiday and go shopping during those times.
6. Team up with another parent. By joining forces with another parent, you have the opportunity to purchase items in bulk at reduced prices. Then divide up the supplies and the savings.
Back-to-school time is exciting for everyone, but for parents it can also be a financially stressful time of the year. But school starting doesn’t have to break the bank. Get your supply list, stick to it, and focus on saving money by following these tips. This school year might cost you less than any other.