You know the time of year - the kids dread it - but moms and dads are counting the days - until the kids go back to school! Don’t let this time of year empty your wallet completely. Follow these hints and you’ll end up saving some cash!
Know what you need! Before you start shopping around, make sure what each of your child really needs so that you don’t end up buying unnecessary items that can rack up your bill. Your child’s school should provide a list of what is needed and sometimes even local stores will post lists for what is suggested for each grade.
Stick to your list! It’s very easy to stray from what you actually need and pick up additional items because they are advertised as a “great deal”... If it’s not on the list - does your child really need it?
Stick to your budget! Once you know what your child needs, set a realistic budget. Once your child knows how much you can spend, include them on the decision making process. If they want a fancy binder or backpack that will not fit into your budget, tell them they will need to put a few items back or chose between items to be able to afford the extra special item. And if you are facing a child begging you to buy this and buy that - remind them of the budget and if they really want extra items, they can chip in their allowance money.
Shop at home first! Check your cabinets and your child’s room to see what you already have at home for school supplies. I bet you will be able to find some pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies hanging around from last year that you child can use - that will cut your cost quite a bit! You may also want to set aside a designated spot for all of the school supplies - put them all into a box in your office so when a child comes home from school later in the year and needs additional crayons, pencils or anything else, you can check your supplies before heading to the store. And if you hit a good sale, you may want to buy an extra item or two for your stash!
Shop Around! Check the flyers against the list that you have - go where the sales are to save the most money. And when you are out shopping, keep your eyes open for deals and sales - just about every retailer offers some sort of back to school sale so you may find a deal when you aren’t even really looking! Remember to check even craft stores, grocery stores and dollar stores for great deals. Most consumers will find that shopping at a dollar store or Wal-Mart will be much cheaper than a local drugstore.
Shop Early! Those great back to school specials start to pop up the middle of July at most retailers. Start your comparison shopping then to get the best deals. If you can find great deals on items you know your child will need - pens, pencils, notebook paper, etc you’ll save big bucks! Just be careful to not buy items that aren’t really needed just because they are on sale.
Follow these tips and you will be surprised how much you can save when shopping for back to school supplies. Remember - make a list, make a budget, shop around and stick to your list and your bottom line! You’ll do great and your bank account will thank you!