Back to School Shopping for Less

Many of us are just starting to enjoy the summer, yet back-to-school sales are in full swing right now. As a child, back-to-school shopping was always a fun time for me. I remember the excitement of getting all new notebooks, pens, pencils and more. Since I wore a uniform, my family didn’t have to worry about shopping for a lot of back-to-school clothes. But for a growing child, there were always shirts, shoes or other items to replace.

This is the first year I will be sending one of my children to school. Though my son is only four years old and 4K only meets half days, I’ve slowly but surely realized the expense of sending children to school. The experience will be different from my own as he will not be wearing a uniform and I have no previous school gear. So I have been researching ways to save money and developed a strategy to make sure I shop back-to-school for less:

School Supplies and Gear

Fortunately, many office supply stores, big box stores and even drug stores recognize that back-to-school shopping is a major event for most families. These stores hold a lot of sales and special discounts, so I plan to start my shopping early. Most back-to-school sales actually begin right now, in July, with stores fighting hard for your business, so shop around for competitive prices on school supplies. Perhaps the best money saving tip will be to only buy what is needed. All those fun and cute extras can quickly bust any budget.
One thing I don’t intend to skimp on is a quality back pack, for this I intend to go for value. Instead of spending money on a cheap backpack I will replace mid-year, investing in quality is the way to go. I also plan to take advantage of in-store or online coupons and discounts to help stretch my dollars.

School Clothes

My strategy for saving on back-to-school clothes is to shop late and wait for deeper discounts later in the fall. Seek bargain clothes at the outlet stores, consignment shops, and garage sales to save big.

One final tip: find out whether your state offers sales tax holidays. Shopping for big ticket items on the right day can help you save on sales taxes. This table by the Federation of Tax Administrators lists states and dates when sales tax holidays are offered.

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t need to bust your family’s budget. With a bit of smart and timely shopping you can make it a fun experience for you and your children.

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This conversation and upcoming $100 Gift Card giveaway sponsored by Hallmark.