Back to school sales have already begun, meaning that it's time to start preparing your kids for the upcoming shopping trip. While picking up new supplies is a necessity, it can also become a costly endeavor. Even elementary school students' supplies and clothes can cost upwards of $600, and the number gets higher as kids work their way up the grade levels.
Some expenses you just can’t avoid, but that doesn’t mean that gearing up for the new school year needs to be as expensive as you dread. To be school shopping savvy, follow these tips:
Look for Supplies You Already Have
Unless this is your very first year sending a kid to school, there’s a strong chance you already have many of the school supplies you need. Round up anything you have, gather it together in a large container, then take inventory. Do the same with outgrown clothes from your kids' closets. With an idea of what you already have, it’ll be much easier to figure out what you need.
Make a Budget
Once you know what you have, compare that list with the items that are on school supply lists. Be sure to mark down any additional clothes and extras, like replacement backpacks and lunch boxes. Once you have a comprehensive list, you can give yourself a rough idea of your potential costs – and make plans to cut down any categories that go over what you can handle.
Shop at Supermarkets and Dollar Stores
Yes, Walmart may be the big go-to location for your school supply needs, but it can become expensive quickly. For more basic supplies, like pens, pencils, and notebooks, you'll be able to pick these up at a dollar store for much less. With these items in hand, you'll have much more room in your budget for some of the more expensive items.
Keep an Eye Out for Sales
Back to school sales events will start to flood stores soon, so keep your eye out for them. Following your regular shopping haunts on social media can also yield news of upcoming savings and coupon deals. When you combine the two, you start to see really big savings.
Also, pay attention to summer clothing sales as the season starts to dwindle. While some clothes won't be suitable for school, plenty of items, like polo shirts, are great for year-round use. Since new clothes can quickly become one of your biggest expenses, every discount helps.
Shop on Tax-Free Weekend
Many states offer tax-free weekends and other shopping days before school starts. While you may not give too much thought to how much you pay in taxes on a regular basis, big purchases of school supplies really start to add up. Find out when your tax-free shopping days are and plan your shopping outings accordingly.
With the new school year on the horizon, shopping for supplies is only a matter of time. Following these tips can help you save money and still get your kids everything they need.
CBC offers free Personal Budgeting Assistance for those who bank with us, so contact our money saving experts today to learn more about budgeting and saving for the school year, and beyond.