Going back to school shopping and getting new things might be the only exciting part about the end of the summer for your kids. However, as a parent there’s plenty of ways to stick to a budget and not let the excitement of the new school year break the bank. Here are 10 tips to help you get everything your little ones need, and save money doing it:
1.) Check home first- Chances are, you have plenty of the supplies on their list not being used at home. Save money on buying new pencils, pens, high liters, calculators by checking your junk drawer. De-clutter, save money and reduce your spending budget all at once.
2.) Make a list and prioritize- For both clothes and supplies, make a list of what essentials that your child needs. The list provided by the teacher is probably all your child will use, so don’t spend money on extras that will end up being a waste. Also, don’t get distracted by all of the cute fall and winter clothes, you can save a lot of money by holding off to buy a new jacket until they will actually need it when it gets cold.
3.) Shop the sales and use coupons- End of summer sales can help you save money and provide cute wardrobe pieces that can be worn well into the fall season. Use a website like Shop it to Me to notify you when your favorite stores are having sales that fit into your budget.
4.) Pick up basic supplies at the supermarket- You can find almost all of the supplies you need at your local supermarket, and you will save money on these items that cost a significant amount less than if you budget to buy them at a school supplies store.
5.) Host a swap-party- This is a great way to get rid of clothes or supplies that you’re kids no longer need—and get new items for free. Clothes from friends or neighbors that no longer like them or fit into them can provide a new back to school wardrobe for your kids. You could do this with supplies and toys too if you want.
6.) Shop online- Its easy to impulse buy and stray from your budget when you’re in the store. You can save money by comparison shopping online, and will be much more likely to stick to your list. Check for online coupons before you hit the “checkout” button.
7.) DIY customization- You’re children may really want character branded items, but they can cost up to 30% more money than generic. You can save a lot of money by buying plain items, and then having your kids decorate them with pictures from the internet or cut out of magazines.
8.) Hold off on trendy gear- Even if commercials and magazines show what the back to school trends will be this fall, it usually takes a few weeks for kids to see what others have, and realize what they actually want. Many want to fit in and be a part of a trend, but holding off to buy these items can help you save money on discounts.
9.) Plan lunch- Check your local circulars for whats on sale each week, and plan out school lunches. You can save a lot of money and stick to your budget if you use a set plan. If one item is on sale this week or has a coupon, go for it! You’re in charge of what your kids eat.
10.) Split the cost over a few months- Explain to your kids that rather than one back to school shopping spree, they get three different spread out ones in August, September and October. This way, you can budget for a new wardrobe and save money on back to school sales, rather than spending a lot of money all at once.