It’s back-to-school season, but that doesn’t mean you need to break your budget. Here’s six back-to-school shopping hacks to get you started.
- Take inventory
Don’t set foot in a single store without first checking to see what you have at home. Keep a running list of everything you find so you know exactly what you have before you spend anything on new supplies and clothing.
- Shop tax-free
Many states offer a sales-tax holiday sometime during the summer, and if you use these days to shop for big-ticket items, like a new laptop or pair of school shoes, you can shave a bunch of money off the final price. You can find a list of sales-tax holidays by state here.
- Shop with a list
And we’re not talking about the list of required supplies your child’s school or teacher has sent home. When shopping for anything, it’s best to start out with a clear goal of what you plan to buy. This way, you’ll be less likely to overspend and come home with stuff you don’t really need.
- Divide and conquer
The circulars are packed with specials on school supplies all summer long. The problem is that, while one store is offering a crazy-low deal on crayons this week, another is running a super sale on pencils – and the stores are across town from each other. Keep your savings and your sanity, by teaming up with another school parent. Divide the school supply list between, pooling costs and savings.
- Let your kids choose some items on their own
Teach your kids a lesson in budgeting by allowing them to shop for one or more of the costlier items they need on their own. Set a reasonable budget together, but let your child do the actual choosing and paying. To encourage thriftiness, you can offer to allow your child to keep the change.
- Save some stuff for later
There’s no need to purchase a complete autumn wardrobe before Labor Day. Waiting a bit for the mid-season sales will save you a ton of money.