It’s about that time of year again! Back to school will be here in the blink of an eye in many parts of the country. Many of us want to save money during this time, but it seems hard when there is so much to buy and you have multiple children who need things to start the year out right. I have two school-aged children who need supplies, clothes, backpacks, shoes and other miscellaneous items. The Huntington Bank Backpack Index says that in 2017, it cost an average of $1,000 to send a child back to school. That is the cost of a mortgage payment for many families! Multiply $1,000 by a few kids and it’s no wonder parents are searching for ways to cut corners and save money this time of the year. Want to know how I save cash? Check out these three tips to save cash during back to school season.
Only buy what you need
I know, I know. How can you walk into Target and not grab some cool new pillows, a couple picture frames, a lamp that will look perfect in the entryway and some mascara? Believe it or not, it’s not fun to avoid all of the goodies, but it is possible with some good ole fashioned discipline! This involves some self control and the ability to say no to the kids if you have them shop with you, but you can do it. You may not want to leave Target without something new and cool for you, but if you want to save money on back to school shopping, go to the store and ONLY buy what is on the supply list.
Reuse items in good shape
We don’t buy a new backpack every year, unless it’s necessary. Backpacks are one area when I’ll splurge – I buy Pottery Barn Kids backpacks when they’re on sale and they tend to last a couple years. I plan to have my kids use the ones they had in preschool, and they’ll be in 1st and 2nd grade. I made sure not to buy the smallest size backpack at the time with this plan in mind. I did let my daughter pick a cheap one out with princesses on it from Walmart last year after school started and the backpacks were marked down. It lasted a couple months before falling apart, and she happily started carrying her unicorn Pottery Barn Kids one again.
Take inventory before you shop
Another way to save is to sort through their clothes before you head out on a shopping spree. Raid the closet and see what still fits from last year. You will probably find you don’t need quite as much as you think you need. The last couple years, I have postponed buying more warm weather appropriate clothes until all of the summer stuff goes on sale. Shopping off season saves you a ton! Plus, the prices of clothing go down in September after the rush. Consider buying a new outfit and pair of shoes for the first day of school, but wait to buy more clothes until your child really needs them.
If you’re looking for fall clothes, head to a used clothing store. I love Once Upon a Child, a chain that sells gently used, brand name items. It’s not as easy to find pants for boys there (you know how boys blow through the knees of jeans and pants) but I do have good luck finding shirts and shoes. Sometimes you find awesome deals but there are times I feel like the athletic clothes are overpriced compared to what you can find at TJ Maxx. I LOVE TJ Maxx! My son loves athletic clothes and it’s a great place to find them for much less money than other retailers.
Use coupons and consider shopping at home
While it can be a pain to piecemeal your back to school shopping (sometimes it’s nice to get it all done in one fell swoop), it can save you cash as long as you aren’t making a special trip to the store a second time. Compare prices of the major brick and mortar chain stores like Walmart and Target with online retailers like Amazon before purchasing anything. Do the math and figure out where the best deals are before forking over your hard earned cash. It may not be worth it to stress over the difference in prices on glue sticks or a pink eraser, but it is worth it on the bigger ticket items like lunchboxes, thermoses, backpacks, socks, etc.
Cut corners where you can and find ways to make your kids excited about heading back to school. My kids tend to love seeing the new supplies (markers are always a fave) and last year, we made sure to buy extra items for the classroom too. We love to help the teachers out and buy extra items for the classroom.
Hope these tips to save money during back to school season help you keep some cash in your wallet! Cheers to another great school year of learning, having fun and making new friends!
Photo credit: military.com
Tags: Back to school