Ways to save money on back to school shopping
These back to school shopping tips can help you avoid overspending on school supplies and buying duplicate items.
From back to 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 school supplies list to help 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. Before you go shopping, create a back to school shopping list (or use the school supplies list provided by your kid's school) to make sure you don't end up with duplicate items.
- 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. To help those in need you might consider donating extra school supplies to local schools or shelters.
- 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. Take advantage of price matching that many stores offer or look for deals with local grocery stores.
- 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:
- Use secure and reliable websites with "https" and a padlock symbol in the address bar.
- Pay online with your credit card instead of debit card. Credits cards typically have added protections against fraudulent charges.
- Consider buying good quality items: It's a good idea to consider investing in good quality backpacks, lunch boxes or other items with a warranty in case they need to be replaced within the school year. Think about buying a reusable lunch box which helps our planet along the way.
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.