Now that the summer is almost over, it is time that students get back in gear for the beginning of a new school year. New classrooms, new teachers, new classmates… I bet, the next most exciting thing about it, is going shopping for back to school (new clothes, shoes, etc). We parents all know, back-to-school shopping can take a toll on your family’s budget, but these smart money saving tips can help ease the financial strain of getting ready for back to school.
1. See what you already have. Keep in mind that not absolutely everything needs to be brand new. There is a lot of reusable stuff from last year (clipboard, scissors, calculator, notepads, pens,) etc. Sort through your child’s things to see what can be reused. By gathering up the things that you already have, you accomplish several things: You save money, you are organizing your home, and you are being kinder to the environment by recycling.
2. Don’t buy everything early. Buy what you need for the first day of school, or if there is a great sale. But since many stores overstock on items, you may actually be able to find great bargains after the back to school rush is over.
3. Set up a school supply fund. It can be as simple as a jar, into which you put the spare change from your wallet every day. You will find that very helpful during school year when some unexpected expenses may arise and you realize that you have the money already saved up in your jar.
4. Avoid buying cheap items. This might sound illogical since we are trying to save money. My mother used to say; we are too poor to buy cheap stuff. Only later in life I understood what she meant. There are some things which won’t matter if they are name brand or just regular bargain stuff (blouses, skirts, t-shirts, sweaters), and there are other things like shoes, backpacks, jeans, which if you buy cheap and doesn’t make it through the school year, then that might have not been a bargain as it will end up costing you more money in the end. I advise you to stick to name brands which are more likely to be used for years to come, and can even be handed down to younger siblings. I find Winners the best, most affordable store when it comes to name brand items.
5. Search out store brands. Some stores- such as Staples- often feature their own brand of notebooks, paper, and other school supplies, at a lower price compared with the name brands at mass retailers such as Wal-Mart. Superstore also has the President’s choice brand, that you can usually buy at a lower price.
6. Arrange a back to school swap. Talk to your friends and relatives with children of similar ages and have them bring unused and unwanted school supplies and clothes that can be exchanged. You will find it interesting how your child will absolutely love a barely-used backpack, which a cousin hates. The same thing goes for clothing. It’s fun, and a smart way to save money.
Good luck and have lots of fun.