Your kids are headed back to school! Along with new routines and activities, the school year also means new shopping trips to get your children supplied and ready. Unfortunately, school shopping can cost you an arm and a leg if you aren’t careful. From school supplies to clothes, to food for lunches, your spending can add up fast. Here are five back-to-school shopping tips to mitigate some of those costs.
Create a Back-to-School Budget
To save on supplies, the first step is to make a budget. Look and see what you already have in the house. When you find any useful items such as pens, pencils, notebooks, backpacks, folders, crayons, and other essentials, jot them down. Make sure to go through closets and dressers to determine what clothes still fit your kids and what they might need. Once you’ve made a list of what you have, you can create a back-to-school supply list for what to buy. Figure out how much you can spend on back-to-school items and stick to that amount. Making a budget will not only save you money, it will help keep you focused when you’re at the store.
Get Sales Alerts from Your Favorite Stores
This time of year, many shops will be posting sales alerts and flash sales. Sign up to receive social media sales alerts from stores. When you do, you may get bonus coupons for subscribing. Once you’ve finished your shopping, just unsubscribe so you don’t receive a deluge of promotions when you don’t need them. Make sure to do some comparison shopping online, and check flyers and store apps for deals at brick-and-mortar stores. You should also take advantage of price matching. Compare prices on school essentials with different retailers. If you find better deals online, show the discounted price to a local store and they may match the price. It may take a little work to find the best deals, but making the time to research can help you save a bundle.
Back-to-School Shopping Tips: Buy in Bulk
Save money and buy frequently used items in bulk at stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. Snack items like granola bars, chips and cookies, as well as lunch bags and Ziploc bags, are perfect bulk items because they will be used year-round. Drinks, paper, pens, notebooks, and other office supplies are items you can consider purchasing in large, discounted quantities too.
Visit Consignment Shops and Thrift Stores
You can typically find used clothes in great shape at the Salvation Army or other thrift shops. Kids grow quickly and don’t wear clothes out before they move on to larger sizes. Online sites like Craigslist are worth monitoring too because families will look to sell kids’ clothes for low prices around the time the new school year begins.
Leave young children at home when you shop. You’ll be able to concentrate on obtaining the essential items on your list without distraction and stay laser-focused on your budget. When your kids get older and start to understand the value of money, it’s a good idea to take them with you on some shopping trips to teach them about budgeting.