Back-to-school time can be tough on your budget. That dreaded list of supplies adds up fast. Plus, children grow like weeds over the long summer vacation so you already know their school uniforms or clothes and shoes from last year won’t fit.
Here are some tips to save on the back-to-school necessities for your kids this coming school year.
How To Save On Back-To-School Supplies
1. Shop At Home
You might be surprised at the amount of supplies you already have at home. Before running off to the shops, search every part of your house for items your child needs for school. Check the home office, kids’ bedrooms, playroom, storage bins and even the kitchen junk drawer.
We usually have stationery like the following at home:
- Pens, pencils, highlighters
- Art Supplies like paint and paint brushes
- Post It Notes
Round up these supplies and place them in a central location so you and your child can easily access them when necessary. Also, cross any of the items you find at home off your list so you don’t purchase them when you go shopping.
2. Reuse Items
Backpacks, lunch boxes and binders are all examples of back-to-school supplies that you don’t need to purchase every year. As long as the items are in good condition, reuse them. Simply scrub the book bag and lunch box thoroughly so they look good as new.
If you have an older child, give their clothing to the younger one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hand-me-downs. Patch any holes, attach missing buttons and adjust hems as needed. Your child will have a “new” wardrobe without you having to spend a cent.
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3. Get Creative
If you are reusing items you already had at home or you were given supplies by a friend, get creative and change the appearance. Use dye to brighten up clothing and cover binders with Washi tape or pretty paper. Let your child personalize their old backpack with stickers or patches. Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it needs to look that way.
4. Buy Over Time
There is no need to purchase everything all at once. After you receive the new school supplies list, ask the teacher if there are any items that your child will not use at the beginning of the year. Buy those items later. Staggering your costs will make back-to-school purchases a lot easier on your bank account.
5. Buy Used
Check thrift stores and online sales for your child’s school supplies. This is a great way to find gently used or sometimes brand new items at great prices. You can also sell the clothes and supplies your child no longer wears or needs and use that cash to offset your costs.
6. Use Coupons
Check newspapers, magazines and fliers for deals. Clip coupons and combine them where you can. You might be surprised at the amount you can save overall.
7. Wait For Sales
Every summer, there will inevitably be back-to-school sales where you can source any items you need. If there are tax-free days in your area, that would also be a good time to purchase supplies at a cheaper price. Consider leaving the more expensive supplies for this time when it would be more beneficial to you.
8. Shop Around
Many stores can save you a pretty penny on back-to-school supplies. Check dollar stores, the bargain bin at larger shops or discount chains for the best prices.
9. Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to purchase supplies you use regularly at a much cheaper price. Items like pencils, notebooks and snacks that kids go through in a hurry are worth getting in larger quantities. This is also something to consider when you are buying supplies for multiple children that use similar items.
10. Say No
You may find it difficult to say no to your child but they do not need the latest and newest of everything. Over time, they will learn the value of money and come to respect it—and you—for not giving into their every whim and fancy.
Let your child help you as you review the back-to-school budget. Give them the opportunity to pitch in and let you know where you can cut back. This can ultimately avoid them feeling cheated in some way and like they had a hand in solutions concerning them.
If they truly want something, let them earn it or give it as a gift for their birthday or at Christmas.
Back-to-school can be the second biggest shopping season of the year behind Christmas. Prepare for it and follow these easy tips so it doesn’t ruin your budget.