4 Ways to Save Money on Back to School Costs

back to school

431735518_eb07328984_zEven though it feels like the summer just started a few days ago, it?s almost time for back to school shopping.

As a kid, I LOVED back to school shopping. There?s something about the new notebooks, binders, pens, and pencils that almost made the beginning of the school year feel more like a fresh start than spring or even New Year?s Day. While I loved shopping for school supplies back then (and I still do now too!), what I loved even more than that was shopping for new school clothes.

Now that I?m an adult, I can see how this time of year might be extra stressful for parents as they have to shell out quite a bit of money for new school supplies, clothes, and other school fees for their children. The cost of all of these things can really add up, especially if you have more than one kid to buy things for. Luckily there are a few ways you can reduce the impact of back to school shopping on your wallet. Here are four of them.

Assess True Needs

It?s true that kids grow really, really fast- but that doesn?t necessarily mean that they need a whole new wardrobe every school year. There were times that my brother and I basically got all new clothes, but there were also years that we got 3-4 new things. It just depended on how much we had that still fit us. Before shopping for school clothes you also need to think about how much quantity you truly need. Does your kid need a few new pairs of jeans, or can they get by with what they still have from last year ?

On the school supply side of things, look at what they have left over from last year that can still be used. Lots of times my notebooks were not completely used up so my parents didn?t buy five new ones, even if that?s how many were on the school supply list from the teacher. Instead they bought 2-3 and I had to use up the ones I had from the year before too.

Look for Bargains

Finding bargains on school supplies is pretty easy, nearly every store that carries school supplies will have them on sale this time of year. Though I think one of the best ways to buy back to school supplies is [easyazon_link keywords=”back to school supplies” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]buying them from Amazon[/easyazon_link] to make things easier. That being said, finding school clothes at a discount can be a little more difficult as you never really know how good a deal the sale really is at a clothing store.

By watching advertised prices on things you know you?ll need, like jeans, for a few weeks you can get a good idea of when they are at their lowest price.

Buy Used

Another strategy to use when shopping for school clothes is to buy used. You can scout out good deals at garage sales and yard sales throughout the summer months and then hit a thrift store to do as much of the remaining school clothes shopping you have left as possible.

Utilize Hand-Me-Downs

There were some years that the majority of my school clothes were hand-me-downs from my older cousins or friends. I didn?t care, for the most part, that the clothes were used. I was just excited to have new things to wear in my everyday wardrobe.

My brother probably got even more hand-me-downs than I did because he used clothes and toys after I had out grown them – assuming they weren’t too girly of course. 🙂



Will you be doing any back to school shopping this year? Have you used any of these strategies to save on back to school shopping? What other ways can you think of to save on back to school shopping?



Photo courtesy of: LexnGer

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  1. Thankfully I’m not at the school age yet with my kids. My daughter is ~14 months and we have another one on the way. But I can see from friends and relatives that it can be stressful (especially when its the first year of school, it almost seems worse on the parents than the kid). All that stress can easily expand the true “needs” for going back to school.

    • Kayla says:

      I don’t have school-age kids either (or kids at all actually), but I definitely can see how it would be stressful on parents too. I didn’t get that when I was a kid, but now I do.

  2. I’m not in school and don’t have kids, but I take advantage of the sales for stocking up my business needs! I keep an eye out for weekly circulars as I have found a few coupons in the Target ad every so often. We also have a Target card and they send us a booklet for back to school with even more coupons in there. Combined with the sale price and the 5% off for using the card, we make out great.

  3. I remember back then when I was still a student. I and my mother went to a thrift store, which I didn’t like because I wanted a brand new bag or school supplies. Now, I understand the purpose of it and would be willing to bring my child there to save money. I would definitely explain to my child why we’re doing this and are here at the thrift shore.

    • Kayla says:

      I hear ya – I didn’t always get why I couldn’t get the “designer” notebooks instead of the plain ones when I was a kid. But now that I’m an adult it all makes sense.

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