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Saving Money on School Supplies

Updated on July 30, 2012

As a parent of school aged children, every August comes the time to buy school supplies. For many families it is difficult to budget for this extra cost, especially after paying for expensive summer camps all summer long. However, there are several ways to get the most for your money if you know where to look and what to shop for. Here are some tips on how to save money on school supplies:

Look Around Your Home

For many families with children, chances are that you have some of the things your child needs for school lying around the house. If your child has a backpack from last year that is in good shape, there is no need to purchase a new one each year. Rulers, calculators, folders, three ring binders, pencil sharpeners, and other items like these do not necessarily need to be purchased every year and this is a great way to save money on school supplies.

Instead of purchasing pens and pencils, use the free ones that you get from local businesses. They are just taking up space in your junk drawer anyway. While pens and pencils are not all that expensive, every penny counts when you are trying to budget. Remember, saving money on school supplies will start with the little things.

Shop Around

During this time of year stores are competing for your business. Most large chain stores offer cheap school supplies to get you in their door. Make sure that you look at all of the ads from local retailers so that you get the best prices on the things you need. If you do not want to have to visit several stores, choose to shop at a store that offers price matching. Walmart will price match any store ad that you bring in, offering a simple way to save money on school supplies.


Tax-Free Holidays

There are many states that have specified days around the beginning of the school year that are tax free. Depending on the sales tax set in your state, this could save you as much as 10% on your back to school shopping list. These dates are typically found on your state’s website.

Only Buy the Things You Need

When you enter the store to shop for supplies all of the extras can be overwhelming. There are so many fun things that your child will want and that you want to get for them. The problem is, your back to school budget probably cannot afford it. Before you head to the store, determine how you are going to handle all of the requests from your child. Here are a few ways to go about it:

v Only allow one extra

v Have your child pay for anything they want that is not on the list

v Have your child pay the difference for the item that you are willing to buy and what they want

v Simply refuse. This may not make you the favorite parent, but it will teach your child money management skills.

Buy Quality Products

While it is tempting to just purchase the cheapest items available, it is a better idea to look at the quality of the products at hand. You will end up spending more money later if you buy products that are cheaply made. Consider a backpack that comes with a warranty or notebooks with plastic covers, these products may cost a bit more, but you will save money in the long run because you will not have to replace them.


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