From school supplies to dorm essentials, stocking up for a new school year can strain any budget. Start with your child’s school to see if they have a supply list to keep you on track. Then, consider these simple back-to-school shopping tips to help you plan smart and cut costs.
Simple tips for back to school savings
- Set aside a school supply central location: Grab a plastic bin or use the dining room table for the supplies as you get them. Create a list (or check them off a supplied list) to make sure you don’t have duplicates.
- Stock up in the off season: Many retailers mark down school supplies weeks after back-to-school shopping peaks. Score deals on trendy, must-have items for this year and stock up on basics like glue and paper for upcoming years.
- Look at what you might already have: You’ll be amazed at what you find in the kitchen junk drawer, desks, closets and basements. Also, take a look at the school supplies left over from the previous year because you might be able to reuse some.
- Plan a supply swap: If you end up with some duplicate items, swap them with your friends who may need them.
- Set a budget and stick to it: Determine how much money you can spend, then evaluate needs versus wants. Review supply lists before heading to the store and note what you already have. Include your kids in the process for a valuable lesson about budgeting.
- Seek out the deals: Buy a Sunday paper to check weekly ads for the best savings and clip any school supply coupons. Follow your favorite stores on social media to keep up with deals, or use a free app like RetailMeNot to find store-specific coupons.
- Shop tax-free: Some states offer tax-free holidays during back-to-school season. See if your state participates.
- Shop online securely: Shopping online adds convenience and the potential for added savings. If ordering online, consider these simple tips:
Remember, back-to-school time is a great time to go through your kids’ closets to find clothes they’ve outgrown; consider donating to a local charity. The Neighborhood of Good® website by State Farm® can help connect you to a charity in need.