School is almost back in session so it’s time to get shopping!
Check out these tips that will save you money and make that shopping trip a breeze.
-Put in Planning Time
First, gather any back-to-school supply lists from your kids’ schools, add the clothing and any extras they’ll need, then look through the calendar to try to predict the cost of upcoming school activities, suggests Dunn. “As parents, we often get surprised by expenses that we shouldn’t,” he says. With your list in hand, it’s easier to set a realistic budget for each category.
-Hold off buying trendier gear
Kids may love a certain lunch box or pencil case they find in July, but once they start school and see that their friends are all using another kind, they’ll beg you to upgrade them, and that only results in wasted cash.
-Shop end-of-summer sales
You know as well as we do that kids wear short sleeve polo shirts all year long, so hit the big summer sales and snap up discounted duds that can be worn well into fall.
-Stick to the list
The teacher’s supply list at the start of a new school year is daunting enough so don’t waste time and money on unlisted items. Extra supplies, while they may be cute, will probably never get used and just leave your pockets empty.
-Cross out things you don’t need
Some items can be skipped altogether, or at least avoided for a while. Say no to excessive items, Fopiano says.
-Head to the supermarket for basic supplies
Check weekly circulars for great deals on pens and loose-leaf paper, and get your weekly grocery shopping done at the same time. Bonus: buying everything in one place will save time and gas money!
-Let the kids raid your cabinets
The kids can select home-office supplies and then personalize them in unique ways. For example, decorate inexpensive plain, white binders with digital photos by creating a collage and inserting the page into the plastic outer cover.
-Host a back-to-school swap
Round up a couple of other moms with kids the same gender as yours but different ages, and host an annual clothes swap. Trade toys and books, too! You’ll save a bundle.
When you’re in charge of what your child eats, you’ll save yourself money. Check the weekly circulars at your local supermarkets for sales. If turkey isn’t on sale one week and ham is, go for the ham!
Lost school supplies may be a given, but gear that’s hard to miss can stave off the inevitable. Pack all their pencils, erasers, and other goodies into a bright backpack or pencil pouch to keep them from disappearing.
-Shop the big three
Old Navy, Gap Kids, and The Children’s Place rotate merchandise often. Ask when they do their markdowns so you can grab the deals. Also, if you see an item you bought in the past 14 days on sale later, you can get the difference refunded, you don’t need the clothing, just the receipt.
-Shop on Tax-Free Days
Many state and local governments offer special tax-free shopping periods with the back-to-school shopper in mind. Check our list of tax-free shopping dates to find out when you state is participating and which items are exempt.
-Check the Dollar Store
You can get some incredible bargains on school supplies at the dollar store, where you’ll find basic supplies like notebooks and pencils, as well as classroom supplies like Kleenex and sanitizer, all at bargain prices. Start shopping in the summer months, because you never know what items stores will order or how long those items will stay in stock.
-Follow Stores on Twitter & Facebook
Many companies send their loyal followers coupon links and advance notice of sales. If you plan to bargain-hunt this year, monitor your favorite stores’ Twitter and Facebook feeds to find deals.
-Hold Off on New Clothing
Every child wants new clothes when they head back to school. And while retailers do put clothing on sale for back to school, Consumer Reports states that this isn’t the best time to buy a new wardrobe for your kids. Prices typically go down in September after the big clothes-buying rush is over.