How to Save Money Back to School Shopping
Believe it or not, Back to School shopping is in full swing right now. If you are like me, you want to get the best deals on back to school supplies, clothing and not spend any more than is needed.
There are some important strategies that will help you get the most bang for your buck this back to school shopping season.
Here are Top 10 Tips for saving money on Back to School shopping:
1. Check your inventory at home. Before you head out to go shopping, check to see what you have on hand. Chances are, if your house is anything like mine, you already have a few extra boxes of crayons and pencils and glue sticks!
2. Check the supply list. What do you need to buy? Compare the list to the supplies you have on hand, and start a new list so you know what to buy when you start shopping.
3. Set a budget, and stick to it. Read over the list, mentally calculate how much you have on hand to spend, and try to stick with it. If Joey must have that LEGO Movie folder, then consider treating the kids to one special folder, and buying the rest plain. By taking advantage of the amazing deals that are available, you’ll likely still have a little budget wiggle room for a few special items.
This goes for clothes shopping too! What do your kids already have on hand that they can still wear this year? Consider buying an assortment of tops, and just one or two pair of jeans/skirts/shorts. Mixing and matching is a great way to save your budget without sacrificing style. Thrift stores and consignment shops offer another cheaper alternative than buying new.
4. Shop early. The best Back to School deals vary from week to week, so you might need to make shop early and shop often. Combine your supply trips with other errands so you aren’t wasting money on gas.
5. Shop various stores. While I’d love to just shop at one store for all of our school supplies, I know I’m going to save 50% (or more!) if I shop around. Check Staples, Wal-Mart, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, and even your local dollar stores. Certain items – like crayons or markers – might not be a great brand at the dollar store. But I love the dollar store for items like pencil boxes, tissues, pencils and more. (Keep in mind that if you shop the Back to School sales, you’ll likely find these items even cheaper than the dollar store at some point!)
6. Or skip shopping various stores and price-match instead. This one depends on your local store’s price matching policies. Staples, Office Depot, and Wal-Mart all have price matching policies. Plan ahead by studying the circulars (and blogs!), and save time and money by heading to your favorite store.
You may want to consider price matching while grocery shopping as well! This can help you save money on school lunches, and even after-school snacks.
7. Hit the tax-free weekend. Find out if your state participates in the tax-free weekend and shop then! The stores will likely be very busy, but it’s a great way to get the most bang for your buck on clothes, supplies and more.
8. Reuse when possible. When it comes to packing lunches, brown paper bags might seem cheap – but in reality, the cost adds up. The same goes for sandwich baggies. Buy reusable ones and you will not only be helping the environment, you’ll be helping your budget! Sure, the initial investment is a bit more, but in the long run, it’s worth it!
9. Shop online. Use sites like Ebates to shop for supplies, clothing, etc and get cash back. Amazon even has Back to School lightning deals and their Subscribe & Save program can help you stock up on snacks and lunch items on the cheap. This also means you’re saving money on gas – and time, because you don’t have to leave the house. That’s a win-win in my book!
10. Stock up. If you see notebooks on sale for a dime, buy enough to last the year! If not, you’ll be stocking up again around the holidays, and they’ll be upwards of $2 a piece if they aren’t on sale. If you find an amazing deal on jeans, buy enough for the whole year. If you have boys anything like mine, they’ll be holes in the knees of the first pair in a matter of weeks anyway. 🙂
How about you? What are your best tips for saving money on Back to School shopping?