It’s a world of excess and back-to-school shopping can be just that. In today’s economic condition, with product costs rising and take home pay shrinking, back to school shopping doesn’t have to be that. Stick to the essentials and you will not only save time, storage space but even your money.
Follow these few simple tips and see your dollar stretch.
First and foremost, shop at home. Get your list and go shopping in your own home. Walk the rooms, and browse the closets. Items like pencil boxes, calculators, backpacks, flash drives do not need to be replaced every year. Use them if they are in good working condition.
Just like you fight to save every cent you possibly can, so do the stores for your business! Stores compete with each other for back to school dollars. Browse the weekly ads from stores like Walmart, Staples, Office Depot, Target etc. But don’t forget stores like CVS and Walgreens. They too offer back-to-school deals and sometimes are better than regular stores. When you come across the lowest price flyer, keep it and shop at a store that offers price matching. This way, you will have to make only one stop but get the best deal possible.
Many states have tax-free shopping days, usually before schools re-open. If your state offers this, make sure to take advantage of this because you will save as much as 10% off your back to school shopping expense. The tax-free weekend in North Carolina is August 3 – 5, 2012.
Check out Sales Tax-Free Holiday Dates in your state.
Forgo the Labels
Brand name products always cost more than their less costly counterparts. You can always buy generic products and let your children decorate them to make it their own. Add stickers or colorful personalized labels. For clothing, explain to your child that buying the latest or trendy attire isn’t the smartest move.
Stick to the List
Before you enter the store to start your back to school shopping, make sure to have your list handy. Let not the ‘shiny object syndrome’ get the better of you. This can prove to be a costly mistake.
Go through your child’s closet to see what you can reuse for school. Shop at thrift stores or consignment sales and see your savings increase. Just because they are sold at ‘second-hand’ places, don’t necessarily mean they have been used. Sometimes, parents donate these to thrift stores, or garage sales because their children grew out of it even before they wore it.
Match your coupons to the weekly sales and save even more. You can easily find coupons for items like Kleenex, hand sanitizers, Ziploc bags etc. either in your Sunday paper or online on sites like coupons.com.
Saving does not have to mean Cheap
Don’t just grab the cheapest product off the shelf. Research the product before buying. Sometimes, a little more money upfront is a better investment that having to replace a poor quality item every year. For example, buy a good quality back up with a lifetime warranty.
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