As the beginning of the school year swings back into view, the Back-to-School frenzy has already begun. Parents are getting early lists from teacher and schools; kids are starting to pine for the latest super awesome folders, backpacks, and binders. As every savvy parent knows, now is the time to start building your back-to-school shopping strategy. With a few clever tactics and a gung-ho attitude, you can tackle the back-to-school stock-up on a pretty modest budget. Today, we’re here to share the top eight tips on how to save money during the back-to-school shopping frenzy.
1. Take Stock of Your Art Supply Closet
Start by pulling out all the unused or still usable school supplies that are already in your house. Empty the art cabinet, dump out last year’s backpacks, and rummage through the junk drawers to pull up ever pencil, notebook, and sheets of construction paper available.
There’s a good chance that you have more than you realize. All those things together can be re-distributed into a pretty sweet pencil box collection that will keep your kids coloring, highlighting, and crafting for the entire upcoming school year.
2. Use Gear from Last Year
Binders, folders, backpacks, and mechanical pencils are built to last a lot longer than a single school year. Even if your child swears they absolutely have to have the latest designer backpack because Suzy has one and Timmy says he’s getting one, they don’t. The sturdy gear from last year is still extremely functional and doesn’t need to be replaced with this year’s cartoon-emblazoned edition of same.
Don’t be afraid to get a little DIY about minor damage. Break out the needle and thread for little backpack tears and encourage your kids to get artistic with duct-tape art for slightly cracked plastic. Duct-tape art can actually make a binder cooler than the storebought TV-themed binders everyone else has this year.
3. From Older Siblings to Younger Siblings
Never shy away from hand-me-downs, especially if you have a stair-step of kids growing into each other’s things. Younger siblings are used to hand-me-down items and often don’t mind another year inheriting the cool stuff used last year by older siblings. If you have an extended family with similar-age cousins, don’t forget to check in to see if older cousins have available hand-me-downs or younger cousins need hand-me-downs from your littlest. This is a blessing in disguise to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping.
4. Supply-Swapping with Neighbors and Coworkers
But you don’t have to stop at family hand-me-downs! Many parents overlook the possibility of swapping used school supplies with parent-friends, neighbors, and coworkers who also have kids passing down gear. Coworkers with only one child might be really happy to see the school supplies their child has grown out of go to another child who needs it. Neighbors with children younger than yours will no doubt be delighted to save a few dollars on the gear your youngest just grew out of.
5. Wait For the List to Avoid Overstock
Before you hit the stores, wait for the list. It can be tempting to go on a shopping spree, and viable for teenagers who already know their classes and most of what they’ll need. But for specific items or the right count of notebooks, don’t splurge ahead of time. Wait for your school or teachers to send the list for precision discount shopping.
6. Work With Your Kids to Save
Children can be your best allies or worst enemies when it comes to back-to-school savings. Your child can make life harder by begging for every designer unicorn notebook in the store, or they can join you on a secret mission of savings by carefully looking at every price-tag and weighing the item’s importance to them based on price. Teach your child budgeting this year and reward them for savvy shopping.
7. Sales, Coupons, and Loyalty Programs
Take advantage of the savings options all around you. Stores (local and online) are gearing up for back-to-school sales. Local publications are printing coupons for school supplies. And joining loyalty programs is a great way to access extra discounts that your everyday parent might not see. Use your coupon-clipping and promo-email-reading abilities to find savings wherever they are hiding.
8. Wait For the September Clearance Sales
Lastly, and maybe the most useful tip of all: wait until one week after school starts to fill out your art supplies. Once the school year begins in September, those sales turn into clearance sales where stores are desperate to get rid of all the overstocked school supplies that didn’t sell. Make sure your child has all the notebooks and basic supplies they need to tackle the first week of school. Then pick up the last of your list and stock up on all that awesome bonus art supplies at half-price during the September clearance sales.
Getting ready for back-to-school is a fun opportunity to start strategizing the entire rest of the school year. Especially during that final clearance shopping spree. Now is your chance to plan for flashcards, workbooks, sketchbooks, posters, and project boards that your child will likely need later in the year. With careful planning and savvy shopping, you can save on back-to-school supplies and more than overstock at the same time. Contact us today for more fun tips on preparing for success in the new school year!
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