Back to school spending tips
That time of the year is approaching. Children who count down the days to the end of their summer break, have parents who are also counting down the days until the dreaded school shopping commences. When calculating the cost of three middle school children, parents spend a ballpark figure of around $350 or more for school supplies alone. This includes backpacks, lunch boxes, notebooks and folders, etc. However, this does NOT include school fees, clothing and shoe costs, or activity fees which add another estimated $650 or more on top of the supply list! Check out these back to school spending tips.
5 Tips to saving money on school supplies:
- Shop at home. Take a look around the house and locate any unused or gently used items that may have been brought home from the previous school year. Things like rulers, crayons, glue sticks, and pencil boxes can be reused.
- Check out back to school flyers and coupons at local stores. Many stores are now competing to offer the lowest prices to get customers in the door. Ten cent notebooks, five cent folders, dollar markers … when added up can save money. Especially if you are buying for more than one child.
- Buy only what you need. All schools send or give out a list of supplies. Buy only the supplies on the list. It’s tempting to grab extra items because we want our kids to have something special for their upcoming school year, but there is always plenty of time after the school rush to purchase a special set of pens or calculator after school has been in session for a month or so.
- Shop alone. Kids will almost always want to be involved in school shopping. The reality is, parents are more likely to spend an estimated $20 more per child when they are shopping with their children.
- Make it fun. Of course it’s fun to have the expensive pencil box or binder, but it can be equally as fun to let a child decorate a less expensive binder and make it more personal. Stickers, glitter, or other decorations that you may already have in your home is a fun way for a child to get into the “back to school spirit” without spending extra on more expensive items.
5 Tips for back to school clothes shopping:
If your kids are like mine, their clothing from last year may be worn out or too small. Clothing and shoe costs can really add up when added to already costly supply lists.
- Take inventory. Take clothing and shoes that are still in fairly good condition to a resale shop. Other items that may be declined at a resale shop can be donated to Goodwill and may be added as a deduction on next year’s taxes.
- Shop Resale. I know kids will always want a new “this” and a new “that”, but honestly, they will never know the difference if you purchase some clothing at a resale shop, take the tags off, and fold them neatly on their bed as if they were new.
- Look for deals. Back to school deals are in abundance at the moment. Some stores are offering $5 graphic t-shirts. Buy one, get one free is always a plus. Stock up on socks from a dollar store in your area. Some stores offer a 3 pack of socks for $1. Can’t beat that!
- Online shopping. If you prefer online shopping or simply don’t have the time to commit to shopping store to store for the best deals, you can find some great deals to help. Some sites offer free shipping, while others may offer a clearance section that has items for up to 80% off original price.
- Savings.com. They have a team of experts that organizes all the best deals for you. So, you’re not only saving money, but you’re also saving time by shopping online!
Think to the future. If you have an idea of what your children will need for next year, start grabbing a little here and there. If you do this, you will have most of your shopping done in advance and it will be MUCH less of a burden on your bank account.
There are many families who are struggling due to some kind of unfortunate event. Whether that event happens to be a loss of income, sickness, medical expenses, or an unexpected death, there is help. If you or your family is experiencing a hardship and are unable to purchase even the basics from your children’s back to school list, there is help available. Contact your school or administrative office and make them aware of your situation. Many schools offer programs for families who are in need of help. Other programs to help are school supply drives in your area or local churches. Help may also be available for reduced lunches, discounted book fees, and scholarships for activity fees.
Be on the lookout in local papers and ask if you may qualify for help for your children; then when you are back on your feet… Pay it forward to another family in need.
Best wishes to all of the children who are returning to school! May their 2016-17 school year be the best one yet!