Although it feels as if summer just started, it’s almost time for kids to head back to school. A new school year often means new supplies, clothes and more. With so much to buy, shopping for the return to school can put a strain on your wallet. Last year, American consumers spent an average of $687.721 per household to send their kids back to school and the total spend hit $83.6 billion.2 We know that sounds like a lot of money, but back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be stressful on you or your budget. To help you out, we researched some money-saving tips. Read on to learn more.
Make a list and stick with it
Before you hit the stores, create a list of supplies and clothing your child needs. Consult the supply list their teacher sent out to avoid buying the wrong items or supplies that aren’t required. Consider adding pieces of classic, layer-friendly clothing to your list for mix-and-match appeal. Sticking to your list helps prevent excess spending on non-necessities. Impulse shopping is a quick way to strain your budget by getting things you may want and don’t necessarily need.
Check for sales and coupons
Luckily, many stores hold back-to-school sales and offer great discounts at the end of summer. Check the paper, online or your favorite stores’ social media accounts to see what’s on sale before you go. Compare prices across stores to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Also, search around to see if any coupons3 are available to help cut costs even more. Check out coupon websites and sign up for mailing lists for brands you like to keep up with the latest deals. Several states even offer tax-free holidays to help lower the costs of back-to-school shopping.
Use what you already have
You might already have a head start on school supplies at home. Sort through the basement and cabinets to look for gently used, or maybe even new, supplies. Your child can add some flair to their supplies by personalizing them. Add a fun photo to a plain binder or decorate a notebook with stickers for a personal touch. Using school supplies you already have leaves room in the budget for a special item like a new backpack or shoes.
Stretch your dollar even further by visiting local thrift stores. You can often find quality gently used clothing and supplies at a fraction of the cost of retail stores. Call around to see if any thrift stores are offering back-to-school promotions before you head out the door. Garage sales are another option to find affordable school essentials.
Buy in bulk
Whether your child burns through supplies quickly or if you have multiple children, buying in bulk4 might be a worthwhile option. Stores like Costco® and Sam’s Club® often offer money-saving deals when you buy items in bulk. Your child might not need everything in the pack, but you can save unused items for the next school year. Another option is to split the costs of buying in bulk with neighbors or friends with children. Whether it’s school supplies or items for their lunch, everyone will enjoy saving money.
The views expressed by the articles and sites linked in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions and policies of Cash Central or Community Choice Financial® .
1Tighe, D. (2022, Jul 18). Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/286432/average-back-to-school-spending-in-the-us/
2National Retail Federation. (2017, Jul 13). Retrieved from: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/back-school-and-back-college-spending-reach-836-billion
3Sarah. (2023, May 8). Retrieved from: https://www.clevergirlfinance.com/saving-money/the-best-coupon-websites/
4Hamm, Trent. (2019, Sept 17). Retrieved from: https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/when-buying-in-bulk-is-really-worth-it