Wednesday, July 11, 2012

9 Easy Ways to Save on Back to School Supplies

It’s summertime. Time for barbeques, swimming pools, beaches and longer days. Children get to stay up late at night watching television or playing games. Many families take vacations and enjoy the weather during the summertime. The one thing that puts a damper on summertime is going back to school and going school shopping. Parents hate it and kids hate it too. It is a final reminder that summer is almost over.

Buying clothes and school supplies for your children can be stressful and costly. Children want the latest electronics, gadgets and fads their friends have. Don't let your children pressure you into buying the latest fads or things they don't really need. Only buy things that your children absolutely need for school. This will save you money because we could all use a little extra money these days.

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 the difference between needs and wants, designer clothes and name brand shoes 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 you budget your money if you don't have the cash to get everything you need when school begins. Here are 9 easy ways to save money when shopping for back to school supplies and clothes.

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.

2. Barter. If you know a parent who provides services that you need for your children such as tutoring or carpooling 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. Check to see if you state offers tax free shopping days. During this time you can buy clothing, school supplies and other items tax free. Use coupons in addition to sales or shop at wholesale stores like Costco or Sam's Club for discounts on school supplies.

4. Clothes. 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 your 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 or may have extra supplies they can give to you for free.

6. Comparison Shop. Search the internet for reputable websites that sell 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 and save some additional money for unexpected school expenses that may pop-up after school starts such as school trips, additional school supplies, etc. 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. Extra supplies: Store extra supplies in one location that can be found easily each school year and which can help reduce costs on supplies needed in the future.

No comments: