Back to school is an expensive time for parents as you buy new clothing and supplies for the coming academic year. It can be tough on the wallet, especially in these difficult economic times. There are several ways in which you can mitigate the expenses of getting your family school-ready.
Make a list, check it twice
Make a list of all the supplies you need for the first month of school. Use the school supplied list as your guide and stick to the essentials only. Check all your drawers and cupboards to find stationary and other items that you can cross off your list. Most outlets have school supplies sales once the initial rush is over (starting in late September), and you will be able to pick up bargains for the rest of the school year.
The list should include stationary and clothing and you must stick to the list in order to stay within budget. If your students insist on coming along, take out cash and give each student their list and the cash. Check their purchases and make sure that they have everything on the list. Getting them to do it themselves is a good lesson in sticking to a budget and can help to illustrate the cost of items.
Buying in bulk is the very best way to win at the checkout. You can get together with other parents to buy your supplies in bulk. If you have excess supplies from previous years or from buying in bulk, consider getting together with other families for a stationary swop.
If you order in advance, you can get all your school supplies for less online. If you must go to the store, leave the kids at home so that they won’t be tempted to add unnecessary items to the shopping cart. Shop around – each store will have its own specials and hitting up a few can really save you money. You can also save money by sourcing coupons for the supplies you need. Here are some websites that offer coupons that you can print out and take shopping with you.
Avoid buying trendy items or items that have cartoon characters, music artists or movie stars on them. Instead, print out your student’s favourite icons from the internet and create your own unique book covers, pencil cases and other stationary items. This could save you up to 30% on branded merchandise.
This year, start early and shop smarter to ensure that you get the most bang for your back to school buck.