Summer is flying by, and soon the stressful back to school shopping will begin. Consequently, parents are spending hundreds of dollars to get their children ready for school this year. Take charge of your spending with these back to school savings tips.
School Supply Costs Are on the Rise
A recent survey from the National Retail Federation found the average amount spent on annual back-to-school expenses has grown 42 percent over the last 10 years. The average family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend $630 on electronics, clothes, and other school supplies.
Cutting costs on school necessities is important for staying on track to reduce credit card debt.
Back to School Savings Tips
August is generally a good time to get all of your back to school shopping done. There are many sales you can take advantage of, and some states offer tax-free holidays. These back to school savings can help you avoid any unnecessary consumer debt. Here are 8 tips to help you save money as you shop.
- Stick to a back to school budget. Make sure you stay on budget. Plan for as many expenses as you can think of prior to shopping. You can use the back to school budgeting worksheet as a guide.
- Don’t follow the supply list strictly. Use your own logic, and consult your kids about which supplies are most important.
- Recycle old supplies. Your kids might not have used some of their old supplies, and they could still be sitting in their backpack! Hole punchers, staplers, pencils, pens and hardcover binders are all examples of supplies that can be easily reused.
- Buy in bulk. If you are shopping for more than one child, try looking at wholesale shopping outlets. You can probably find better bargains for bulk items like folders, pens, pencils, crayons, and note cards.
- Don’t take your kids with you to shop. If possible, get a babysitter, keep one parent at home, or maybe drop them off at grandma’s house. They will try to convince you to buy stuff they don’t need, and they are very brand conscious, but won’t care what brand it is after a couple of weeks at school.
- Don’t buy your kid a whole new wardrobe. Some parents get into the habit of buying their kids an entire new wardrobe when they go back to school. Sure, if your kid hasn’t gotten new shoes in a while and is growing out of old ones, then take advantage of back to school sales. However, if you just bought them new clothes in the spring or summer, let them pick out two new outfits and possibly a new pair of shoes.
- Take advantage of tax savings. If your state has a tax-free week or if a business decides to pay the sales tax for you, make sure you shop at those times to add some more money to your savings.
- Stay away from sales traps. Some sales are only there to encourage you to spend more money than you normally would. For example,“Buy 1, get one-half off” can be dangerous. As a result, this deal could force you to spend more than you expected and then accumulate more credit card debt.
The start of a new school year does not have to be costly. It should be exciting and satisfying knowing that you are saving money. Use these back to school savings tips to help you save extra this year.