Along with new wardrobes, sports uniforms and stationery, back to school
supplies can really pack a financial punch. Starting early will give you
enough time to find coupons for your favorite products, shop around for
all your essentials and avail yourself of deals that could save you fistfuls of money.
Make a list
Start with the school’s recommended list of stationery and add other
essentials you and your student deem necessary for the coming academic
year. Give the house a thorough once-over to find just how many of these
items you already have. Check draws and cupboards for markers, pencils,
pens and other stationery items you may have lying around. This list is
sacred; do not be tempted to deviate from it when you are in the store
unless you discover an item that you have forgotten.
Shop around for deals
Go online to compare item prices in different shops in your neighborhood.
Of course you don’t want to go to each individual store to buy a
couple of items because the savings can be negated by traveling costs.
Shopping online for items will alert you to any special deals or sales
that stores are having and, if you know what to get from each store, you
can pop in over the next couple of weeks if you happen to be driving by
or are in the area. If you find great deals online with free shipping
or shipping that costs less than your shopping travel expenses, then order
them online—this will save you money and time!
Coupons are king
If you are not using coupons, then now is the time to start. You can get
amazing deals on everything from clothing to pencils if you download and
print coupons that you find online. It only takes a minute and can save
you 30-50% of your back-to-school spending. Work with other parents so
that ‘buy one get one free’ deals can be shared between families.
Some of the most popular couponing sites are:
The Crazy Coupon Lady
Common Sense with Money
Retail Me Not
Avoid buying Disney-themed stationery or celebrity-endorsed items and get
some craft supplies from the dollar store instead. Get your students to
design their own covers for files, pencil cases and books. That way they
will have created unique one-of-a-kind items that look great but cost less.
Get together with other parents to arrange a clothing swap. This is a cost-effective
and environmentally-friendly way to add to your wardrobe. Every student
has clothing that they no longer use which is still in excellent condition.
Parents and students can meet to exchange items of clothing and share
their wardrobes. Unwanted items can then be donated to a charity. You
can get more details on
how to run a successful clothing swap here.
This year getting ready for the new academic year need not cost you an
arm and a leg. After the back-to-school rush has passed, many stores have
sales on their back-to-school items that didn’t sell. The frugal
parent can shop then for the future and stock up on supplies that they
will need next year.