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Save Money with Back to School Shopping

Updated on July 14, 2011

Back to School

It seems that every year about this time, we spend a fortune to get our kids ready to go back to school. The supply list is long and the budget is small. We end up frustrated and broke and the kids are upset because they didn’t get everything they wanted. There are ways to prevent this from being the yearly scenario. You can save money when shopping for your kids if you follow these tips.

Tips to Save Money

1. Reuse what you can.

Take inventory around your house to see what was leftover from last year. Do you have extra pencils or paper? Are the markers and glue still usable? You may be able to cut down the amount you have to buy this year.

Look at the backpacks, lunchboxes and binders. Are they still in good shape? Can you reuse them this year? Kids like to have new things every year but that gets expensive. Is there a way that they can decorate last year’s items instead? Maybe buy them a pack of stickers to change the look. If you’re crafty, you can come up with more ideas to redesign last year’s items.

2. Look for sales.

After the Fourth of July sales are finished, stores begin to promote back to school sales. Check the ads to see which store is cheapest on each item. Try to find a store that will price match and that will save you a lot of time. Shop at the beginning of the sale for items that will sell out. You don’t want to plan to buy the cheapest item and end up getting a more expensive one because it sold out. Buy ahead for the entire year because the prices will be higher later on.

3. Find out if your state has a tax-free holiday.

For 2011, eleven states have a tax free weekend that can save money, especially for parents with more than one child to buy for. If your state doesn’t have one, talk to your legislator to try to get one for next year.

4. Save money on clothes.

If your school has uniforms, try to find them used. You could organize a swap in your school where the older kids hand down their uniforms to younger ones. You can also find uniforms online cheaper than at the official uniform store.

If your kids aren’t required to wear uniforms, you can buy clothes at the thrift stores or consignment shops. Also look at yard sales. If you buy some new clothing, make sure to get it during the tax free weekend. That will save you a lot of money, possibly enough to pay for the other supplies.

5. Shop online.

Look at Craigslist or Ebay for items such as clothes, backpacks and lunch boxes. You can often find name brand, expensive items for a cheap price.

Shopping Can Be Fun

Shopping for kids doesn’t have to break the budget. You can save money and buy nice things for back to school. That way, everyone is happy and you still have your sanity.


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