Back-to-school shopping is more expensive than ever. However, there are plenty of little tips and tricks that help you avoid spending gobs of cash on pencils, erasers, notebooks, folders, etc. Check out a few of the best money-saving tips and make the school year a raging success:
Take Inventory At Home
Clean out the closets, desks, basement bins, etc. before setting foot in a retail store. It is very possible you already have plenty of school supplies lying around! Throw everything in a clear bin and make a list of what you have. Compare it to your shopping list and make adjustments as needed.
Take Advantage Of Garage Sales, Flea Markets, And Thrift Stores
Shop at garage sales and similar “sales” to find what you need. Yard sales and the like are often goldmines in terms of school supplies, all of which you can get for cheap. Some stuff, such as notebooks and boxes of pencils, are available new depending on where you go. Flea markets are excellent resources, as former store owners often sell their remaining inventory at such events. These sales and markets are also great sources of “new” clothes.
Don’t Be Afraid To Set Limits
Set limits in terms of what your children can have for the new year. It’s not unusual for them to want the newest items, but that doesn’t mean you have to purchase every new thing they want, no matter how dazzling. Setting limits also helps your kids learn about money and the value of various items, i.e. it is entirely possible to find quality items that do not feature a name brand. If you really want to score name-brand supplies, look to craigslist and eBay.
Save On College Stuff
Send your child to college without making your piggy bank weep. New textbooks easily cost hundreds of dollars, so use sites such as Half.com and CheapestTextbooks.com to find what you need. You’ll easily save tons and tons of money on textbooks, because as long as they feature all the necessary information, who cares if they aren’t new?
As for other college essentials such as sheets, rugs, and light cooking equipment, check out the aforementioned garage sales and flea markets.
Visit The Dollar Store
Visit your local dollar store to stock up on all kinds of things, including notebooks, folders, erasers, pens, pencils, and more.
Shop On Tax Holidays
Find out when your state’s tax holidays are occurring and get your shopping done then. Shopping on such days allows you to purchase school supplies without paying tax on them, which adds up to big savings.
Look for coupons and promo codes in your Sunday paper and sites such as RetailMeNot.com. Find out which stores in your area offer price match guarantees, and look for coupon deals on the social media pages of your favorite stores. Staples, TJ Maxx, Best Buy, Office Max, and Marshalls all provide coupon links and information on upcoming sales.
Buy In Bulk
Buy pencils, glue sticks, pens, etc. in bulk at wholesale stores such as Costco. Buying such items at the end of summer means you will not have to stock up for the entire year.
Put The Kids To Work
Encourage your kids to get jobs if they really want high-priced items, such as new name-brand shoes or backpacks. Give them chores to do for money, have them walk the neighborhood dogs, pick up a few shifts at the local ice cream shop, etc. They’ll learn just how much they want certain items!
Use Cash, Not Cards
Use cash instead of credit cards when purchasing school supplies. It is a known fact that people tend to go overboard when they are using plastic instead of cash. Rather than crying the next time you get your credit card bill, opt for cash payments. You will be happy you did!
Also try using cash-back options such as Ebates to get what you need! Happy shopping!