Steps to Saving Money on Back to School Shopping

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

Right now, it’s time for back to school. Many parents and children are getting ready and excited for the new school year. But back to school usually means shopping — spending money. Before you hit the back to school sales, it is a good idea to prepare yourself. Here are some of the steps you can take to save money on back to school shopping:

  1. Go through what you already have: One of the best things you can do is figure out what you already have. Some of the school supplies from last year might still be in good shape, or your children may not need as many new outfits. Know what can be re-used. A frugal lifestyle does not always need new things.
  2. Make a list: In much the same way you can save money on grocery shopping by making a list, you can also save money on back to school shopping with a list. Make a list of what you already have, and compare it with what you need. Then, make a final shopping list, and coordinate with your coupon clipping efforts.
  3. Stick to the list: Stick to your list, and avoid impulse shopping, which can quickly deplete your cash supply.
  4. Look for quality: While you want to make sure you are saving money, you should also look for good quality items. Consider paying a little bit more for something that has a truly higher quality. That way, it may last through the entire school year — and maybe even be ready for re-use next year.
  5. Avoid trendiness: Trends come and go, and that can mean that you pay more for something “in style”, and that your children may not still want in a couple of months. When it comes to clothing, make sure that most of it is classic, and that it can be mixed and matched. Buying one or two stylish items might be acceptable, but your money will go further if you focus more on longevity than on fads. When it comes to lunch boxes and pencil cases, the same rules apply. You don’t want to buy something that you child regrets a couple weeks after school starts. At the very least, wait until after school has started so your child has a better feel for what’s “cool”. My son just takes a high quality insulated, plain red reusable lunch bag similar to what my husband takes to work. It’s something we paid $18 for once, and that will last for at least another two or three years.
  6. Let your child buy some supplies: If your child is old enough to be earning some money, or if you provide an allowance, you can consider letting him or her buy one or two supplies. My parents provide each of us with a set amount for back to school clothes. If we wanted something trendy, or extra, we had to pay for it ourselves. Having your kids put in their own money may encourage them to think more deeply about their purchases.
  7. Make a plan for next year: You can prepare for back to school shopping next year by planning now. Use this year as a guide to estimate how much you will need for next year’s back to school shopping. Then, set aside a small amount each month to use next year. Put the money in a high yield account, or use something like SmartyPig (you can get a bonus if you get a gift card to the store you will shop at) to help you meet your goals. Spreading out the cost of back to school shopping can help you better prepare for it.

This post was also featured in the Festival of Frugality.

Bonus Tip:

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