While back-to-school time can be exciting for both children and adults, the cost of sending your kids or yourself back into those hallowed halls can leave you scrounging for spare change. While some items cannot be found on the cheap side (we are looking at your computers), there are plenty of ways to save money when it comes to going back to school. With the following tips, you can be prepared to hit the books without breaking the bank.
Try the Supermarket
Believe it or not, supermarkets can be great places to buy back-to-school items like notebooks, pens and colored pencils. Supermarket prices may be lower than office supply stores, and they often offer sales or bundles. You can stock up on essentials like pencils and crayons by buying in bulk during a bundle sale at the beginning of the year.
Get to Know Your Local Discount Store
Discount stores often offer common household items for a dollar or less. Often, you can find school supplies in these stores that are of similar quality for less. Dollar stores aren’t your only options, you can also check into local thrift stores. You can find an array of lower priced school necessities, like clothes, backpacks or even calculators.
Look for End-of-Summer Sales
You might not get many end-of-summer discounts on school supplies, but you can definitely find sales on backpacks and clothing items. If you buy clothes just as the stores are changing over to the next season’s items, you may be able to pay half-price or less. Make sure to stock up on clothing for the fall at the end of summer so that you and your kids can still look great on school days without spending a fortune.
Don’t Make Extra Purchases
If your instructors have provided a list of school supplies, stick to that list. Don’t let those alluring store displays tempt you. More than likely, your kid’s school will have anticipated all of your supply needs and included those on the list provided. To be honest, your kids probably don’t need the Batman pencil bag with a special phone charger attached. By practicing good impulse control at the store, you can save a lot at the register.
Settle for the Ordinary
It’s not necessary to buy the trendiest, most expensive supplies. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to help your kids keep up with their neighbors. Plus, kids destroy or lose 90 percent of what you buy them anyways. Get them notebooks and folders you can afford, even if they don’t have popular TV characters on the cover.
Don’t Forget to Budget
Planning is essential to successfully saving money on school supplies. Even though school supplies may be a necessity, you can still save money on them by planning ahead. Figure out how much money you can afford to spend on school supplies, clothing and other necessities, and stick to the plan.
Budgeting doesn’t stop with back-to-school shopping. Visit our budgeting page for information on the different types of monthly expenses and how to help prioritize them.