Back to School Savings

August 01, 2013
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Summer is flying and the stores are starting to stock the shelves with Back to School supplies!  Without a plan, back to school costs can rise faster than the temperature on a hot summer day, putting a lot of stress on your finances.  However, there are some simple things you can do that will help curb the cost, and teach your kids some valuable lessons about spending wisely!

  • Buy only what is on the list - It can be tempting to buy the pack of 98 crayons that is on sale, but if they asked for a smaller pack of crayons, you will still save money by purchasing the smaller pack.
  • Try to shop without your kidsKids will always gravitate to the brand name, colorful, characters, etc, products when most of the time, the basic model will work.  By not having your children there pushing for the items that they "can't live without" you will be able to purchase what they need and save a lot! If it isn't possible for you to shop without your kids, follow the next rule!
  • Give your kids a budget - Allow them to purchase a few things that they really want with their budgeted amount.  Not only will this save you money, but it gives you a chance to start teaching your kids the value of wise spending.
  • Get the list ahead of your planned shopping time - If you have the list, look through last years back to school items as well as everything you have around your house and try to reuse items you already have as much as possible!
  • Make a plan - Look through all the ads and see what stores are offering the best sales.  Many stores will have items that are "loss leaders," products that the company offers at super discount in order to get you into the store.  If you don't want to go to different stores, find a store (like Walmart) that will price match sales.
  • Coupons - If you know what items you are looking for, do a quick internet search and see if you can find any coupons for either stores that you are shopping at, or the specific items you need.
  • Quality vs. Price - Always look at the quality of an item as well as the price.  If an item is on sale, but is a poor quality, you may end up paying more for replacements in the future then if you had bought one of the more expensive items.
  • Resist the urge to replace everything - We know that is the norm to buy a new wardrobe for back to school, new back pack, new shoes - new everything!  However not all of these items may need to be replaced just because it is time to go back to school.  If you are looking for something new for the school year, always watch for sales at popular retailers, or check out discount retailers like Marshall's and TJ Max.
  • Rent vs. Buy - If your student is required to have a high end calculator for a class, consider renting one rather than buying one.  Some schools will offer rental programs, or you can rent calculators from www.graphtor.com  Even though renting is less expensive, if your child is going to need this calculator multiple times over the years, it may be better to purchase one rather than continually paying a rental fee.
  • Wait if you can - Many items will go on sale after school starts, so if you can get away with waiting on a few supplies till after school starts, you may get a better deal, although you will not have as great a selection.