Saturday, September 03, 2011

9 Ways to Save on Back to School Supplies

This is the time of year that children become sad because summer is coming to an end. Children can no longer stay up late at night watching television or playing games. Parents have to plan their weeks sometimes having to be in two places at once. Parents have to buy school supplies and clothes.

Buying clothes and school supplies for your children can be a stressful and pricey task. Children want the latest electronics, gadgets and fads their friends have so they don't feel left out. Don't let your children pressure you into buying the latest fads or things they don't really need. Stick to your guns and only buy things that they absolutely need for school. This will save you money which we all need these days because the future in unknown.

Talk with your children before going clothes and school shopping and set expectations. Let them know about your finances and what you are going to buy and what you are not going to buy. Explain to them about needs and wants, designer clothes are not needs.

Ask your children to create a list of mandatory supplies they need for school. Determine what clothes your children can still fit comfortably and make a list of things they need. Prioritize the list in four categories: Need Now, Need in 2-4 months, Need in 5-7 months, Need When School Ends. This will also help budget and stretch your money if you don't have the cash to get everything you need. Here are 9 tips to save money when shopping for back to school supplies and clothing.

1. Plan Ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy school supplies. The best store sales start early so plan ahead to take advantage of them and get the best choices.
2. Barter. If you know a parent who provides services that you need and you have clothes or toys your kids are not using consider bartering.
3. Sales. Go to yard sales and dollar stores to find great bargains on school supplies.
4. Clothes. You can buy clothes from a thrift store, consignment shop or discount store such as Old Navy, Kmart, Wal-Mart or Target. Kids grow quickly and their clothes generally don't last or fit them throughout the entire school year. This will save you money and you kids will still remain fashionable. Buy clothes and shoes if possible at least one size too big so your kids can get more wear out of them.
5. Network. Mention to family, friends, co-workers and neighbors that you are going school shopping. They may be able to provide money savings tips for buying school supplies or may have extra supplies they can give to you for free.
6. Comparison Shop. Search the internet for reputable website that sells school supplies at a discount price and purchase items before school starts to get the best deals. Every few minutes of comparison shopping can save you $1-$9. Also shop at stores that honor competitor prices and coupons.
7. Budget. Create a budget for necessary school supplies (pens, paper, pencils, erasers, notebooks, composition notebooks, rulers, compass, etc.) and save some additional money for unexpected school expenses that may pop-up after school starts such as additional supplies need for classes, school trips, additional school supplies, etc. Buy only what you need if you don’t have enough money to buy extra supplies. Look around the house to see if you have any leftover supplies from the previous school year.
8. Internet. Search the internet for reputable websites that sell school supplies at a discount price.
9. Gather Information. Towards the end of the school year ask the teacher for a list of required school supplies that will be needed and buy supplies throughout the summer. This will spread the costs out over a period of time and ensure that you budget will not be greatly affected by waiting until the last minute to go back to school shopping. This will prevent rushing to buy unnecessary items because you didn't create a list to buy only the things needed.

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