With another busy moving season wrapping up, it is about time to get your kids ready for school and with that comes back to school shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, the average family is expected to spend $606 per child for back to school shopping. If you have more than one child, the dollars add up fast. Here are a few ways to save this year:
Take inventory – Take inventory of what your child already has for clothes and shoes in order to avoid burning money on items that are already in the closet. Take the opportunity to teach your child a lesson in charity and donate any outgrown clothes or shoes. Articles of clothing that are beyond repair can be torn up and used as rags for cleaning.
Also, take inventory of office supplies sitting around the house. You may find some notebooks, folders, pens and pencils that can be of used for the upcoming school year.
Create a shopping list with your child and stick with it – After taking inventory you will have a pretty good idea about what items are needed for the year ahead. If you have just moved, be sure to consider what might be needed with the weather at your new home. Sit down with your child and discuss what supplies they think they will need. Stick to the list and avoid falling for the deals that aren’t needed. Just because an item is “on sale” doesn’t mean you’re saving money by buying it. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
Take advantage of sales tax holidays – This is a great way to save if your state offers it. There are different requirements for each state, so do your research and double check what is being offered.
Plan lunch – If your child does not eat school lunch, you will most likely be the one to prepare it. The best way to do this is plan lunches for a week out by making a grocery list and sticking with it. Check for weekly deals on meat products and other items used for lunch. Consider going to big box stores to stock up on items that are non-perishable.
Get next year’s supplies this fall – The best and cheapest time to get school supplies is after school has already started. Stock up on supplies for the following school year or for next semester.
Back-to school swap – Coordinate with mothers of children the same gender as yours but different ages to host an annual clothes swap. This is a great way to meet families in the area after moving, while saving money, too!
Track the sales and shop online – The easiest and most time-effective way to compare sales is online. It’s also easier to find coupons online and use them on the spot when purchasing items. By shopping online, you are also saving on gas and lunch that usually goes into a day of shopping.
Use apps to get some coupons – Shop Kick, Retail Me Not and Target’s Cartwheel offer coupons based on your location. With Target’s app, you can scan items and it will bring up their available coupons.