5 Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

It's time to start back-to-school shopping. How do you prepare to do this on a budget?

American families will spend nearly $80 billion on back-to-school shopping every year. To save some cash on supplies for your kids this year, you’ll need to get a little more creative. Here are a few tips that can help.

Take Stock of What You Have

School shopping may push you to go crazy in buying new supplies. Resist the urge by taking stock of your supplies, your wallet will thank you.

Before you start shopping, take stock of what you already have in your home. You’ll be surprised at what’s lying around your house in closets and drawers. Go through your regular spots for storing office and school supplies, and round up what’s on hand. Next, make a list of what you still need. Take out your smartphone and snap a picture of your current supplies for visual reference. You should also go through your kids’ closets. Toss worn-out clothes and donate any clothing your kids have outgrown. Be sure to get a receipt for your donation to claim a deduction on your tax return.

Coordinate a Supply Swap

A good way to acquire supplies and get rid of the back-to-school stuff you don’t need is to coordinate with your family, friends, and neighbors. If you know parents who have school-aged children, see if they have any extra supplies they’d be interested in trading. 

Compare Prices

Bargain hunting can take time, but if you keep an eye on prices at various retailers, you can score some good deals. There are many apps out there that can help you do the work. Use websites to save money by comparing prices across different stores. Remember to look to your local stores for bargains on school supplies as well. Check out circular ads in your paper and search online for any discount codes or coupons.

Shop at Thrift and Consignment Stores

New school supplies don't always need to be "new". Thrifting is a great way to cheaply buy supplies and clothing for your kids.

Thrift stores are a great place to shop for school supplies and used clothing. Make sure to look for special savings on certain days of the week at places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. You can follow your local thrift shop on a Facebook page or check its website periodically. Many secondhand stores now offer online shopping. It also doesn’t hurt to ask your friends and family to watch for items your kids may need if they happen to frequent thrift stores too. Consignment stores are also a good option. Visit kidsconsignmentsales.com for a national directory of sales.

Take Advantage of September Clearance Sales

Once the new school year rush is over, you will be able to find supplies for cheap prices. Many retailers will look to clear out their inventory and that means great deals for you! Consider buying notebooks, pens, paper and more in bulk during September and stock up on items that your kids can use over the next two or three grades.

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