10 Back to School Saving Tips
1. Inventory: Before you go to the store take a quick inventory of everything you have. You may find that many of the things you thought you needed to buy were already in your house.
2. Clothing and School Supply Swaps: New school clothes are perhaps one of the most expensive back-to-school costs. Chances are you that many of your friends could use your old clothes just as much as you could use theirs. Rather than all of you going out to buy new school clothes, consider having a clothing and school supply swap.
3. Buy in Bulk: Your kids will always need things like pencils, pens, notebooks and other school supplies. When you find a good sale, buy these things in bulk. Consider buying a few years supply at one time to save on the hassle of going through this process next year. Just make sure you have an adequate area to store them.
4. Focus on Big-Ticket Items: Your time is probably the most limited resource you have. Rather than trying to find a deal that will only save you a few cents on a box of pencils, focus your saving potential on the expensive things like backpacks, clothes, and shoes. Focusing your limited time on the expensive things will offer a bigger payout than the things you can buy at a dollar store.
5. Follow Store Sales: When the school year ends you will already know what you need to buy before it starts back up in the fall. Take that summer to look for sales in some of your favorite stores. This way you can spread out your spending over the entire summer rather than all at once right before school starts.
6. Hold Off on Trendy Items: You may end up spending top dollar for the items your kids think are the coolest thing. Hold out on buying these items until a couple weeks after school starts. The first benefit of this is that you will find the sales that don’t start until after school starts. The second benefit is that you won’t end up buying something for your kids only to find out that it’s not the trendy thing anymore.
7. Create a List: Before you look go to the store, create a checklist of everything that you need. If you go to the store without a list then you will likely fall victim to many of the products’ marketing schemes and spend more than you need to.
8. Create a budget: Before you spend a cent, a set limit on how much you can afford to spend on back-to-school needs. This will help you prioritize what you need to buy now and what you can hold off on.
9. Inform Your Kids: If you are taking your kids shopping with you, explain to them what you are going to buy and things that you won’t. Even after you have this talk they will still try to persuade you to buy things that are not on your list. However, having this talk beforehand will make these “battles” easier once you are at the store.
10. Hold off on Major Purchases: Some of the more expensive items like computers, calculators, backpacks, etc. will be cheaper if you wait till the end of August or Labor Day weekend when summer and clearance sales happen.
Am I missing anything? Add your own money saving tips in the comments section?