It's still July, but we are already starting to see those back to school sales. Heading back to school can be a very expensive time for families. Families spend an average of almost $700 dollars a year heading back to school. This can be a huge budget buster. It doesn't need to be for your family.
With a little planning you can get your family ready for back to school without breaking the bank. Check out these 7 tips to save on back to school shopping.
Set Your Budget
School supplies and clothes can really add up quick. Set a budget for what you want to spend before you even start shopping. If your kids are old enough, share with them about the budget. Not only will it help them learn how to budget, but they can decide what is really important to them. It is amazing what my son will pass on when I ask him if he wants to pay for something.
Maybe they need new crayons, paper and markers, but do they really need new clothes? Figure out what the necessities are and then if you still have money left over work on the wants. Retailers want us to feel like we need to buy new clothes, shoes, and book bags for the kids. Most of the time, these are not necessities, they have clothes and shoes that will work just fine for back to school.
Buy Quality Items
I know that buying quality items can often cost more in the beginning, but can save you in the long run. I have found that cheap crayons are not worth the money you save. I would much rather pay a few cents more for Crayola. We bought my son a book bag for first grade that has lasted through 7 years of school. He will be taking it again this year. At $30 it was more expensive than most of the cheaper backpacks, but it has saved us money in the long run.
Skip The Trends
Character lunch boxes and backpacks are sure to go out of style quickly. Try to buy the trendy gear and just get the basics. If you want to get your kids something they will love, go for the pencils, erasers, or folder in a character. They are usually cheaper than the lunch boxes and backpacks and don't usually make it from year to year.
Make a list of items they need and start looking for deals. The stores usually do a couple of weeks of sales. I try to make a list and only buy the items that are a fantastic deal that week. Most stores have lots of school supplies for under $.25.
Often midway through the year the kids will need more paper and pencils. Buy some extra when you find a great deal. Don't forget to stock up on office supplies, too. I buy most of our pens, pencils, and paper in August.
School clothes or school uniforms can bought used at thrift shops or garage sales. You could host a school uniform swap with multiple families. I like to sell my son's clothes at a consignment shop and then use the money to buy clothes. If you don't have a consignment shop nearby try Thredup. They often have a good selection of children's clothes.
Going back to school doesn't need to cost a fortune. By planning ahead and making smart choices you can go back to school without breaking the bank. What tips do you have for saving money on back to school shopping?