Tips on Saving Money During Back to School

By Theron Pickett

“Back to School” is stressful for a number of reasons, one of them being how expensive this time of year can be. Your children need school supplies, clothes, books—you name it. Use these five top tips to keep your stress levels (and the pain to your wallet) from getting too high.

Tip 1: Make a list!

You’d be surprised at just how much those impulse-buys are costing you. Before you head out to the store, a moment to look at your child’s class syllabus or the provided school supplies list and decide what you do and do not need from the list (for example, your children do not need a 100 pack of rainbow markers).

You can also ask older students and parents for advice. They will give you a more realistic list of what your kids actually need for class, versus what’s on the syllabus. This will help you narrow down your list.

Extra Tip: Unsure about an item? Wait! Buy what your children need as they need it. This will save you from making unnecessary purchases.

Tip 2: Recycle! Recycle! Recycle!

While you are making your list, check to see what you already have in your house. This means you should save your school supplies from previous years, which is also a great opportunity to teach your children how to be resourceful. Make reusing old binders and folders fun by decorating them. Have a scavenger hunt to find extra paper or half-used notebooks. Put your children’s names on their pencil pouch, books and other items to give them an extra sense of ownership and let them know that it is their responsibility to keep up with their things.

Tip 3: Bargain Hunt

Before doing any shopping at traditional retailers, look online to see the price range of each item on your list. Then, check your closest dollar or discount store for school supplies. Buy everything you can at a discounted price before you start buying at full retail price.

Extra Tip: Do a quick search online for exclusive deals or coupons before you confirm your purchase! You’d be surprised at how much you can save.

Tip 4: Use Your Network

Talk to other parents and ask them where they’ve found the best deals on back-to-school supplies. You can also ask if they have any old supplies that they would be willing to give you. If your child wears a uniform, talk to older parents and ask them if they have any used uniforms they could give you or where you could buy from them at a discounted price.

Extra Tip: Some states have tax holidays during back-to-school season. Check your local newspaper or look online and time your shopping accordingly!

Tip 5: Combine

While it can be tempting to try and organize your child’s classwork by buying a binder or notebook for each class, consider buying multi-subject notebooks and binders instead. In the long run, this will cut down on costs and make things easier for your children. They will only have to focus on keeping up with one binder or notebook in comparison to five. Plus, it’ll weigh far less in their backpacks!

Theron Pickett is currently a junior at Georgetown University, majoring in Government. She hopes to attend law school sometime after graduation.

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