Ten Ways to Save Big on Back to School Shopping!

by Laura Wallis | Follow Her on Twitter Here

back school shopping dealsBack to school shopping — that annual harbinger that summer is almost over and school is here!

Saving big on back to school shopping is important since it can put quite a dent in your family’s budget, when you consider that the average family with school age children is expected to spend $634.78 on clothing, shoes, supplies and electronics, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation.

Following are ten ways to make back to school shopping a little more wallet friendly – five for supplies and five for clothing.

Save on supplies

1. Make a list of wants vs. needs for school supplies. Use the list your school gives you and figure out what you already have. Those scissors you buy every year? Where do they go? Chances are good they are lurking in the bottom of your child’s backpack from last year. Figure out what can be repurposed and then what you need to buy.

2. Compare prices. Unless it’s something you enjoy, don’t worry about going to eight different stores. Instead, lay out the Sunday sales fliers from all the stores that are convenient to you and decide which ones have the best prices on the majority of what you need. Sure, one store might have .25 crayons but driving there just for that is a waste of time and gas, unless you are near there anyway. Don’t make yourself crazy.

3. Stock up for the upcoming year. These are some of the best prices you might see so take advantage of buy one get one free (BOGO) glue sticks, or dime-priced spiral notebooks to buy not for just September but the rest of the year. They don’t go stale or out of style!

4. Don’t forget about office supply stores, the dollar store and warehouse clubs. Sometimes an office supply store might have the best selection and great prices too. Same with the dollar store; why spend more for basics like highlighters, sharpies and index cards that these stores typically carry. And sure, your warehouse club might only sell 8-packs of tape, but why not stock up when you can? Send some in to school and keep the rest of it around the house.

5. Check those coupon flyers for cents off coupons on everything from glue to pens. There aren’t as many coupons for school supplies, but they can be found!

Save on clothing

back school shopping tips1. Make the same list of wants vs. needs for school clothes. Your daughter might want designer jeans, but she might need three pairs. One of the best ways to teach your kids financial management is to have them do their own budget. Do they really want to blow most of their shopping money on Lucky jeans? Maybe so, but let them show you where the trade offs are going to be.

2. Consider waiting until school is back in and you know what the hot trends are. Chances are your weather is such that the spring and summer clothes will still work. If your child loves to follow the hottest trends, let him or her see what kids are actually wearing, and not just what the mall is pushing.

3. Don’t forget about resale stores, especially for special occasion clothing. Those dark pants you need for a choir connect? Consignment stores are great places to find that kind of thing that is rarely worn and can be spendy.

4. Use your credit cards wisely. It’s tempting to change things you can’t afford, which is never smart. But lots of stores let you access special member deals if you use a store-branded card. Take advantage of the savings, but don’t forget to pay your bill in full when it arrives as any savings will be quickly negated by interest charges.

5. Don’t overlook online shopping for a wider selection — and a savings in both gas and time/hassle. Many sites offer free shipping and free returns which can take the headache out of school shopping and allow your child to try on different items with those they might already have in their wardrobe. The huge selections of clothing, shoes, electronics and more make them a great place to compare prices and features!

What’s your favorite money-saving tip for back to school shopping?

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