The back-to-school season can feel daunting with everything you need to get and all the money you have to spend. But, the good news is you can save hundreds of dollars with some simple tips. Get to know the ins and outs of savvy, back-to-school shopping below.
1. Take inventory
Did you buy extra notebooks last year? Do your highlighters still work? Do you have clothing that still fits? Before you head to the store, go into each kid’s room and take inventory of what still fits, what can be thrown away, and what school supplies are still usable. This can cut down your shopping list and maybe even save you a store trip.
2. Trade clothes or purchase secondhand
Kids grow like weeds and can often outgrow recently purchased items. A clothing swap may be just what you need! Get together with your neighbors and friends, and trade gently used clothing, shoes, sports gear and school supplies.
For fast-growing or stain-prone kids, try purchasing via thrift stores or online consignment stores like Thredup.com to save some money. Also secondhand doesn’t just apply to clothing; try looking for refurbished electronics. These electronics can be discounted up to 40% off and even include a great warranty.
3. Get the teacher-approved shopping list.
Many teachers will send out a list of supplies before school starts or on the first day. Follow this list to keep you on track. It will prevent you from spending money on things kids may not use. Pay attention to the details when shopping. For instance, some teachers ask for supplies without characters on them. Not only are these character- covered supplies sometimes banned from the classroom, but not buying them can also save you money in the long term because they easily become outdated.
4. Create a price cap, and share it with your kids
Teach your kids how to budget this back-to-school season. Tell them how much you are willing to spend for each item, and see if they can find that item in their price range. Shopping becomes more like a scavenger hunt to find the supplies they need at the right price.
5. Take advantage of price matching
Many retailers offer to match the lowest price of an item you find at a competitor’s store. Staples even offers a 110% guarantee, which means it will match the lowest price and take an additional 10% off. Don’t forget to check prices before you leave your house. This will help you know where to shop and what to price match, while also saving you time at the store.
6. Sign up for store emails and follow their Facebook pages
Stores often email or post on Facebook weekly coupons and clearance deals. By subscribing, you stay on top of the latest discounts.
7. Shop alone, if possible
Kids can throw off your money-saving goals by talking you into the themed supplies and shiny, new colored pencils. Go alone with a list and a plan. You will be in and out before you know it!
8. Make multiple trips
Retailers rotate through deals every week. One week highlighters may be on sale, and the following week folders could be the special. In just a few weeks, you can collect many of the items on your list, all at a discounted price.
9. Wait to buy clothes
Who doesn’t love spicing up their wardrobe for the new school year? But, if you can hold off a few weeks, some of the best deals on clothing will come after the start of school.
10. Tech deals for students
Many electronic brands offer mega savings to students on new laptops and tablets by providing a student ID and transcript.
- If looking to buy a new Apple MacBook or iPad, check the Apple Education Pricing page to get the best deal.
- Go to Best Buy’s website to find a list of all the College Student Deals that they offer
- Check out Dell University, which details student specific deals on new laptops, notebook, and desktop systems.
11. And, let’s not forget backpacks
Backpacks can be the priciest item on your shopping list, next to electronics. Try avoiding big name brands, which tend to be more expensive, as well as themed backpacks. The themed backpacks are more expensive and will become outdated, leaving you with little chance to reuse them the following year.