5 Tips to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping
August is slowly creeping to an end and if you haven’t done your back-to-school shopping yet, time is running out! A survey by the National Retail Federation shows that the average back-to-school shopper will spend about $688 this year. Some parent could spend as much as $1500 per child.
There are many ways to save on back-to-school shopping. So if you are budget-conscious like many other shoppers, then the below tips will help you get started:
1. Make a shopping list and stick to your budget
Start by making a shopping list that will help you avoid any impulse buying. Research prices and deals that will save you money and drive your budget down. Last year’s stock is generally a great way to start your back-to-school shopping. The idea is to stick to your budget and go lower if possible but never higher.
Don’t let your kids talk you into buying items that they don’t need. Don’t fall for “Carrie’s mum bought that calculator so now she is a genius in maths”—it’s the oldest con in the book. Just stick to the basics and buy standard electronic devices for your kids. If they want it so bad, then make it a gift for their birthday or the holidays. Stay true to your list.
2. Buy online
There are many perks when you shop for school supplies online. The most important advantage is that it’ll be easier to avoid temptations. Your kids won’t get a chance to chose high-priced items with characters from this year’s most popular movie (like the frozen-mania of 2014).
Shopping online is the easiest way to get the best deals. You can compare products and prices with only a few clicks. It takes less time than trolling the shops for hours and the deals online are the best during this season.
3. Sales, coupons and tax-free shopping
The end of summer is when prices of general back-to-school items such as pens, books, pencils, etc. drop significantly. September is also when you will find the best deals on fall clothing. Many last-minute shoppers will wait until August and September to get the lowest prices on back-to-school items.
Coupons are also a great way to save hundreds of dollars shopping. Start by looking in your Sunday paper or online for free coupons. Some websites even have special sections for back to school discount codes. You can drive to your local Best Buy or Walmart and find out if they offer price and coupon matching. If there is are any items that you need to buy, you can call the store and ask if they have any deals or upcoming sales. It never hurts to ask!
Social media is another place to look. It might seem unexpected but some companies send their follower’s coupon codes and could inform you in advance about sales. If you plan to bargain-hunt this year, then keep track of your favorite stores’ social pages for any deals or flash sales.
Lastly, don’t forget to find out your state’s tax-free shopping weekend for additional savings. Many states offer tax-free shopping days for school supplies and some stores will join in and run corresponding sales. This usually takes place around July or early August. So if you’ve missed out on this year’s tax-free shopping, keep an eye out for next years events.
4. Buy in bulk
Plan ahead and buy in bulk for more savings. Decide on what items your child will use frequently throughout the school year, such as crayons, pencils, and notebooks. Don’t buy clothing or other items that they may outgrow. You will a lot of money this way because you will be buying cheaper than when you shop for single items.
5. Dollar store
Shopping in a dollar store is one of the easiest ways to save on back-to-school items. Dollar stores will have most of the small items on your list such as pencils, pens, tissues, notebooks and much more. They are priced low, but you won’t find the popular name brands here. However, you’ll find similar products for only a dollar. At such low prices, you can even stock up on supplies for the entire school year. If you are shopping for your college kids, you will find a lot of items like folders, cheap microwave bowls etc.
When you shop at a dollar store, don’t expect to buy the latest or trendiest items for your kids. The downside is that some items are not very good quality. So be selective when choosing items for a buck.