Believe it or not, school is just around the corner. I know you probably don’t want to think about summer nearing its end (whether you’re a parent or child), but now is the time to start thinking about back to school shopping. The crazy thing is that the list of what a child needs can seem endless.
With that in mind, now is the time to determine what your child will need for this upcoming school year. Since kids grow like weeds you will most likely need to buy them new clothes. The back to school list doesn’t end there as you will also need school supplies like pens, pencils, erasers, books, and more. It sounds like a lot, but I bet you can get many of these items for pennies on the dollar. You just have to know when and where to look. As an aside, the “average” family spent at least $635 in 2013 on back to school shopping. Seeing as you’re reading Wise Dollar, I know you’re not average and thus plan on saving money. 🙂
Find New Clothes for the Kids
As we established earlier, your kids will likely need some new clothes, so where can you go to find some reasonable prices on clothes that they will actually wear? My first instinct would be to send you to Goodwill, though that can be hit or miss on occasion. They do get new shipments in from Target once in a while, but they leave the racks quickly, so it might not be a bad idea to make friends with an employee or manager to get a feel for when the next batch of clothes are coming in.
Beyond Goodwill (or other thrift stores), you could also consider trying other upscale consignment stores as know they have grown in popularity here in Omaha. Your kids can get the name-brand clothes they want for less than half the price. This could be a huge savings on your wallet if you typically want to dish out big bucks for a pair of jeans. The other option is to do a clothing swap with other families who have kids of the same gender but a year or two older. That way you get to help each other out and both save money on back to school clothing.
Find Cheap Office Supplies
Office supply stores all fight for your business during the back to school shopping season. Between Office Depot, Staples, and Office Max, you can find some amazing deals on spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, and erasers. If you aren’t a big fan of the crazy madness brought on by other deal seeking parents, you can also check out grocery stores or the Dollar Store as they commonly both have deals.
The other option to consider, and one I tend to go with is by shopping on Amazon. You may not always find the best deals, but you can often find very competitive prices and can do it from the comfort of your own home.
Related: Check out the Amazon back to school section, today for savings on all your back to school needs.
Back to School Shopping and Electronics
If your children need a new computer for school, I would advise you to save up some money early and take your time looking for a deal. Laptops, and calculators for that matter, always seem to make their way onto Craigslist around this time, but you must be quick to act, which means you need to have the cash in hand.
If you find a used item that functions just as it would if it were new (likely for half the price), then you should be ready and willing to buy that item, knowing full well that your child will be needing it in the near future. Going back to the Amazon option given above, they are a great option again for electronics that you can buy through them or a third party vendor. They even have laptops, like the Acer Chromebook, for under $200 at times.
I have always found the key with saving money on back to school shopping is to plan ahead and realize that because you spend more doesn’t mean that it’s going to necessarily going to be better. Look for the more frugal options and don’t be afraid to buy used. At the very least, this can be a great opportunity to begin to involve your children and build into them some wise financial decision making.
What are your tips to save on back to school shopping? When do your children start back to school? At what age do you think a laptop is appropriate for a student?
Photo courtesy of: Flight Centre
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