Save Money During Back to School Season
Be Creative with Back to School Season
Salvage Supplies from Last Year
A half worn down eraser is not completely useless and neither is a notebook with blank pages left. Don't just throw away supplies at the end of the year that are used, go through them with care noting what can be re-used, and what cannot.
Some things should last several school years, such as backpacks, calculators, rulers, and clothes. Don't let your kids turn back to school season as a reason to drag mom or dad to the mall! That way, it will be easier to budget for the items that should be or must be replaced annually, like books and supplies for new classes.
Not only is re-using old school supplies economically friendly, it is also eco-friendly, helping reduce the demand for things like paper.
Crayola Back to School Pack - Bundle and Save!
Buying Used Over Buying New
School books, clothes, and calculators can be expensive, especially if your kids are at the age where they grow out of their clothes every few months! By shopping on sites like eBay, Listia and other selling and trading platforms, you can find used and even new clothes for less than half the cost of retail price!
Just some of the places to shop used online include eBay, Amazon, Listia, TradeYa and uSell. In store options include consignment shops like Children's Orchard and Once Upon a Child which have a wide variety of clothing options at low costs.
Stop Fearing Back to School Time and Start Looking Forward to It!
Will you be doing any back to school shopping this year?
If You Have to Shop New, Shop Smart
If you can't find something used, the next best option is to choose store brand supplies which typically cost less than name brand products. Another useful tip if you do find yourself needing to buy new supplies is to avoid shopping during "back to school" season.
Although many stores market huge sales during back to school season, they often mark up costs beforehand, making the discounts no better than, if not worse than shopping for the materials during the middle of the school year and purchasing supplies for the coming up school year.
Having Kids is Great, but Also Expensive
Brown Bag It
By making lunch for your kids, or having your kids pack their own lunches, you can save money on expensive, yet unhealthy cafeteria food.
It may take a little more time and effort, but you will not only be able to cut back on expenses, you will also know that your children are eating nutritous foods that are consistent with their diet.
This is even more important for parents of children with food allergies. Save time by planning out lunches for each day at the beginning of the week.
Find easy to pack items, like fruit, sandwiches and veggies and prep them on Sunday before the school week begins.
Coupon, Coupon, Coupon!
The Coupon Mom Organizer
Go Coupon Crazy!
For those who find themselves needing to run to the store every back to school season with a laundry list of supplies despite your valient efforts, come packed with coupons for the big ticket items on your list.
Coupons can save you huge discounts during back to school season. Be sure to check junk mail, newspapers and online for coupons from your favorite stores and brands. You can also usually score extra coupons by signing up for the company's mailing list through their website!
Checklist for Parents During Back to School Season
To help you during this back to school season, I have compiled a checklist to help you stay on budget and save as much money as possible:
- Decide on a total budget for all of your children
- Right down all supplies needed (separate lists for each child helps)
- Research sales both online and in-store
- Decide what items are cheaper to purchase where and when
- Look up tax-reduction offers for your state for back to school season
- Start collecting coupons for all items on your list (check online, check newspapers and also be sure to look through junk mail for additional discounts)
- Don't bring the kids with you when you need to go shopping, that way you can avoid unnecessary purchases that they nag you for while shopping
- Stick to your list and your budget!
Swap, Trade and Barter with Other Parents
If you live in a tight-knit community, or are close with the parents of your childrens' friends, plan a swap day at the end of every school year where the kids and parents get together to swap, trade and barter supplies from the prior year.
This is a good chance to let your kids find different clothes they may like, supplies for different grades and more! You will be surprised how much you can save if you just ask other people to participate!
Remember that Trends Fade Fast!
Sure, your kids may love Hello Kitty and X-Men right now, but who knows what the new craze will be in a year, in six months, or even a month from now!
Trends fade very quickly when kids are young, so buying all your school supplies according to a particular trend is never a smart idea, as you may find yourself with a closet full of school supplies your kids won't be caught dead using.
You Can Never Save Too Much, but You Can Spend too Much
Re-Sell Supplies You Can No Longer Use
Not only can you save money on items you need to buy, but today it is pretty easy to make money on items you don't need! Before you go and throw away a school supply your child will no longer need, think about listing it online somewhere like eBay, Craigslist or Amazon.
You may be amazed what others are looking to buy!
What costs the most for your family during back to school season?
Check If Your State Offers Tax Free Days
Many states offer week-long or weekend-long "tax-free" or "tax-reduction" days during the back to school season to help parents with long lists of supplies. By knowing when your state offers this price reduction, you can coordinate your schedule to plan your back to school shopping around this tax-free time period.
Each state has different regulations regarding back to school tax discounts, so be sure to find out all the information ahead of time, including dates, restrictions and total price limits.
© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal