I swear, I somehow blinked and missed this whole summer. How in the heck is it back to school time already? I am starting to see ads for school supplies and lunch boxes are making their way up to the front of the stores, so I guess it’s time to start thinking about it whether we are ready or not.
Here are a couple of tips to keep you sane as you navigate the back to school frenzy:
- Make a list. Know exactly what your kiddo needs for back to school. Add school supplies, clothing and shoes to the list.
- Shop at home. Since you have a list, now go through and start shopping at home. Kids don’t need a new backpack if they already have one. They don’t need new tennis shoes just because it’s the first day of school if theirs aren’t worn out. Pencils that still have life in them, go into the school supply box.
- Watch the ads and look for coupons. With a little pre-planning, you can get pencils, erasers, etc. for a penny. The stores hope you will stay and do all of your shopping at once, but if you are willing to buy it slowly over a couple of weeks, you come out waaaay ahead.
- Go through what the kids have grown out of or don’t wear and take the usable stuff to a consignment store. Either get the cold hard cash or take a credit and do some school shopping right there.
- Arrange a swap with friends and neighbors. This is a great way to get clothes and fall sporting equipment. If you can get enough families in the swap, everyone wins.
- If you don’t have time to run all over town to hit the sales, focus on your biggest ticket item. Find the best price for that item and do your shopping there.
- Some states have “tax free” shopping dates. You get a couple of days to shop for back to school without paying sales tax. To see if your state participates, click HERE.
- Sign up for emails from your favorite back to school stores. Place like Old Navy will compete for you business this time of year by offering some pretty deeply discounted email exclusives.
- Don’t get too hung up on name brands for things like socks, underwear, and undershirts. They pretty much all wear the same–save a little money by buying these items at discount stores.
- Go in with other families and shop in bulk. School supplies in bulk are usually at significant savings, if you have someone to split the costs–otherwise, you just pay $10 for 18,000 pencils and then you have to find a place to store them for the next 5-7 years.
What creative way have you found to save money on back-to-school?
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