It’s hard to believe summer has gone by so quickly. The back-to-school ads are in full swing, and families are making their yearly trek to the stores.
According to the National Retail Federation, this time of year is the second biggest spend for consumers (after the holidays, of course). In 2021, it was estimated that the average family with children in grades K-12 planned to spend $894 on school supplies.
Here are some tips to help save money if you’re buying school supplies/clothes this year.
1. Recycle – Take a look around your house to see if you have supplies from last year. If you find things like folders, crayons, scissors, and notebooks, the savings can start adding up.
2. Buy only what you need – Going shopping for school supplies can be exciting. The stores have colorful ads and great displays, but stay focused and buy only the items on your list.
3. Consider leaving your kids at home – When the kids enter the store, they’re excited and want to buy just about everything; it’s almost like Christmas! Even though we think we’re in charge and can easily say “NO,” our kids can still pressure us into buying things they don’t need.
4. Brand name versus store name – Compare the prices between the brand and store name supplies. In some cases, there may be no difference in quality. Give the store brand a try and see how the product holds up.
5. Research – Review the store ads and try to figure out what their loss leaders (items priced at a loss to get you in the store) are. Is it crayons, notebooks, or folders? If different stores in your area have different loss leaders, you may be able to save significantly.
6. Consider shopping at garage sales or thrift stores – If you don’t have a supply of clothes in your home from your other kids, consider shopping at local garage sales or thrift stores. You may be able to pick up gently-used shoes, clothes, jackets, backpacks, and more.
7. Use social media and the internet to find deals – We all know how popular social media has become. Consider following your favorite brands or stores on social media platforms. They may send out information about upcoming sales or coupons. If you visited some stores and the shelves are already bare, consider online retailers.
8. Buy in bulk – Since school supply prices are good this time of year, consider buying supplies that will have to be replaced throughout the school year.
9. Determine how you plan to purchase the supplies/clothing – If you purchase supplies with cash, you’re more likely to stick to your back-to-school budget. If you purchase items with a store credit card, you may be entitled to additional savings. While the additional savings is great, if you can’t pay off the store credit card in a reasonable amount of time, the interest rate will diminish your savings and could end up costing you more.