As the summer season winds down, the start of a new school year is fast approaching. Every new school year presents new challenges and opportunities for kids. The new school year also presents a challenge for parents: how to pay for all the school supplies children need for the year without overspending.
The best strategy for back-to-school shopping is to start with a plan. Many schools provide a list of the supplies students will need during the school year, so make sure you have that list before you start shopping. Now that you know what supplies your kids will need, start looking for ways to save.
- See what school supplies you already have. Back-to-school supply lists usually don’t vary much from year-to-year. Check to see what your child brought home at the end of last year to see if there are any salvageable school supplies they can use this year.
- Look for special promotions. Right before the school year begins, many stores offer back-to-school sales. Watch for special promotions such as free-shipping and those useful “two for one” deals.
- Do your shopping during tax-free days. These days usually last for an entire weekend in either July or August. This is a great time to buy t-shirts, socks, and school uniforms.
- Shop at local consignment stores. The end of summer is when many thrift stores receive gently-used clothing. These stores offer low-priced quality merchandise. Thrift stores have strict policies for accepting items, so you don’t have to worry about buying anything damaged.
- Take advantage of Thursday sales. Many department store sales begin on Thursday and run through Sunday. Many people save their shopping for the weekend, but a trip to the mall on a Thursday can produce great savings, plus, you’ll get first rights on merchandise.
Finally, to save on back-to-school shopping, it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. With proper planning, you can prepare your children for another school year without breaking the bank.