It is that time of year when those of us who have school aged children start to think of the school year ahead. Did you know that the average American family will spend more then $200 per child to send them off to school this year? Some spend $1000 per child! Is that the best use of our money? There are many ways that we can save on back to school shopping. These are just some of the frugal back to school shopping rules that I follow that help me to save money.
Shop Your Closets
Before you even begin to shop, a good cleaning of closets and setting up an inventory list of what you have will allow you to see what you truly need and not what is just on a shopping list sent out by the school. We have often reused backpacks and pencil boxes that were still in good shape. We go through closets to see what clothing really is needed for the year ahead. If you must wear a uniform, make sure it still fits and is modest in coverage.
Set a Budget
Once you have your list of what is needed and your inventory on hand list, then you can make a budget. I have never spent more then $100 per child. I share with them what is needed and our budget; we work together as a team to make sure we can get everything on our list by finding the best buys.
Shop Second Hand – Consignment and Thrift are Great for Back to School
Once we have our list of what is really needed, we go to our local thrift stores. Over the years we have found my child’s clothes in like new, or some even with tags on them simply by hitting the thrift store. This is great both on the pocketbook and the environment. I see it as a double win. Last year, my teen was able to find a name brand expensive pair of running shoes for $7 (in store, same pair sells for $100), and they were new.When we are back to school clothes shopping I get them to help me find the best deals. If they want name brand, it often comes from a garage sale, thrift store or consignment shop. My teen has managed to find many items by shopping this way.
Use Coupons and Codes
If you do have to buy from a store, check online for coupons. After checking online, I then do a price comparison, and if I can find it cheaper online I will often purchase online only after I have looked for promo codes, especially for free shipping. By collecting and using coupons, I have managed to save hundreds not only at back-to-school time, but all year long.
Read Your Flyers
We all dislike junk mail, but the flyers that come weekly advertising the sales often are a great resource for saving at back-to-school time. We use the flyers to price match here at Walmart to usually get the best deal. Last year I bought lots of paper at $0.25 cents a package, so much so I don’t have to shop for paper this year, and a package of pencils was less then $1 as well. Watch for the sales.
There are lots of great ways to save on back to school shopping, what are some of your favorite ways to save?
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