By: Sammi Coppedge, Marketing Assistant
All around the country, parents and children alike are preparing to head back to school in the next few weeks. While many are excited to begin the new school year, the costs of heading back to school can be daunting. With long supply lists and desires for new wardrobes, many families find themselves struggling to keep up with everything needed for the new year. However, with our list of the top ten ways to save money while back to school shopping, you won’t have to break the bank this year.
#1 Shop sales
Although cliché, this is a very important part of back to school shopping. There are so many supplies that at full price, are not worth it. Be sure to shop around at different stores and check out their various sales. Even though your child may not be getting a folder with their favorite cartoon character on front, the extra $3 can go a long way in purchasing other supplies. There are currently Target coupons for school supplies, lunch foods, and clothing. While you’re on Target’s site, be sure to check out Target Cartwheel as well for more back to school deals. Also, check out sites like coupons.com for their back to school deals on everything from school supplies to contacts, or Living Rich with Coupons for special August deals from several big companies.
#2 Stick to the list
At least for younger children, teachers will provide a very detailed supply list. One great way to save money on back to school shopping is to stick to the list. Although other items may be appealing, if it’s not on the list, it’s probably not worth it. So don’t waste your money. If you have older, high school aged children, wait until the first day of school when teachers hand out supply lists. Then go out and buy the items so that you’re not buying unnecessary things. If your student insists on buying supplies before school, be sure to only purchase things you know will be used, i.e. paper, pens, folders, etc.
#3 Check for leftover supplies
Chances are your family has old school and office supplies lying around. By maybe checking your office cabinets or doing a little summer cleaning, you may be able to find at least some of the supplies you need. After all, certain things don’t always need to be bought brand new.
#4 Host a back to school swap
If you’re in need of some new school supplies, but don’t really have the budget to do so, consider hosting a back to school swap with other families in your area. Invite a few families with school age children over and ask them to bring any old or unused school supplies they may have. The families can then swap supplies and hopefully leave with a few extra items, without all the costs. The supplies may not be brand new, but they will at least be new to your student.
#5 Visit the dollar store
Although you may not be able to get everything you need from the dollar store, consider going to one for supplies. Often, items are considerably cheaper at the dollar store than they would be anywhere else. Plus, you can find other great and cheap back to school items like lunch boxes, food containers, water bottles, and more.
#6 Shop resale stores
If your children are in need of new clothing but your family is on a tight budget, consider shopping at consignment or resale stores. Stores like Plato’s Closet are great for teenage and high school aged students and Once Upon a Child for younger, elementary aged children, just to name a few that are located in the Muncie area. When it comes to resale stores, sometimes all it takes is a little bit of time and searching, but chances are you can find some great, hardly worn clothing.
#7 Utilize school supply assistance
There are plenty of great organizations that offer school supply assistance for families who can’t afford it. In Delaware County, one organization dedicated to this mission is Hearts & Hands. They will be having their annual Tools for School event, where you can get school supplies for your family, on August 8, 2015 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. For more information, check out their Facebook page.
#8 Save on college textbooks
If you have a student in college, consider shopping around for the best deal on college textbooks. Besides your child’s university bookstore, there are several other great places to look for textbooks. Websites like Amazon and Chegg offer discounted textbooks and are a great way to save money on possibly one of the most costly parts of a student’s college education.
#9 Build up school supply inventory
Once the rush of back to school is over, purchasing supplies on clearance can be a great way to stock up for the future, plus a great way to get the items at a very low price. Look for items you know your student will need, like paper, pencils, and pens. You can find these items at really low prices, and then next year you won’t have to worry about purchasing them again.
#10 Create a budget and stick to it
Ultimately, only you and your family knows how much you can spend on back to school shopping. Analyze how much you can spend, create a budget, and stick to it. Use coupons, sales, and a mixture of the previous tips in order to not overspend. With a little savvy shopping and dedication to your budget, you’ll be sure to not break the bank this year when it comes to back to school shopping.