With gas prices sky rocketing and the economy plummeting, it's no question that shopping for back-to-school can break your budget. We are here to help make things easier on you and your pocketbook. Find tips on how you can save money when shopping for your child's back-to-school supplies.
Shop for Sales and Special Offers
Save money on back-to-school supplies by looking for bargains and sales. Try shopping at multiple stores to catch different sale specials. One store may have products "on special" that other stores don't. You may also be able to get a price match by presenting a competitive store's advertisement. Also, make sure you maximize your savings by taking advantage of special tax-free holidays. Don't forget to use all those coupon clippings for an even bigger discount at the checkout.
Shop at Bargain and Dollar StoresYour local dollar or discount store is a great place to save money on back-to-school supplies. Name-brand versions of supplies like pencils, rulers, highlighters, scissors, erasers, folders, and notebooks may be discounted to around $1 at dollar stores. You may not find everything you need, but it's worth a shot to see what they have in stock.
Check Out Yard Sales and Thrift StoresIf you like to bargain, then yard sales and thrift stores are your one-stop deal spots. Binders, notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, and other school accessories can be purchased at unheard-of prices. Many times yard sales have unused items, but if your finds have some wear and tear, a little creativity and family craft-time can bring them back to life. You can also find quality vintage accents for a dorm room, if your teen is heading off to college. Couches, nightstands, lamps, desks, and other furniture and accessories are heavily discounted -- and you may be able to negotiate an even cheaper deal. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure!
Recycle Last Year's SuppliesGive the Earth and your pocketbook a rest this school year by recycling old folders, binders, notebooks, and other supplies. Tear out and recycle used pages from old notebooks, and use the remaining fresh pages this year. Give last year's supplies a new look with contact paper, stickers, wrapping paper, photographs, or magazine cutouts. Make sure you keep supplies like calculators, rulers, protractors, and sharpeners, because they can be used for several years.
Use Loose-Leaf PaperA common mistake when the school year ends is throwing away spiral notebooks -- blank pages and all. Instead, use binders with loose-leaf paper. That way you use only the paper you need and can save the rest for next year. If spiral notebooks are necessary, purchase notebooks with perforated pages that rip out cleanly, so blank pages can be reused as loose-leaf.
Get CreativeMost schools suggest that books be covered with a protective layer to keep them newer longer. Instead of spending money on fancy book covers, get creative with what you have at home. Extra wallpaper, old wrapping paper, newspaper, and brown-paper bags make great book covers at little or no cost. A plain cover also provides a blank canvas for kids to express themselves creatively. Forgo expensive, novelty pencil and lunch boxes, supply boxes, and binders, for plain, less expensive versions. Then let your kids dress them up with stickers, decals, and paints.
Stock Up for Next YearEvery school season follows the same routine: School supplies are bought, kids go back to school, and then the stores put everything on sale. Retail stores tend to discount school supplies even more after the "buying season" is over. By thinking ahead and taking advantage of markdowns this year, you're sure to save money for next year.
Buy a Reusable Lunch BoxInstead of packing your child's lunch in a new brown bag every day, pack it in a fun, reusable lunch bag that reflects her personality. Reusable lunch boxes don't just cut down on the money you spend on brown bags; they also help the Earth. Lunch options don't have to be limited to room-temperature foods anymore, since many lunch bags are insulated or come with a small ice pack to keep things cooler longer. Your child's lunch just got that much better!
Shop OnlineSave money on school supplies and back-to-school clothes by shopping online. Office supply companies may offer better prices online than in their stores. Be sure to look for inexpensive delivery options, to keep the overall price down. This way, you save time, gas, and money.
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Have Kids Chip InIt's amazing how much your child does not need when it comes to spending his own money. By having kids chip in on their school supplies and school clothes, you can save money while teaching your child a lesson in money management. Kids may even feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they contributed their own money.
Special thanks to familyeducation.com for providing this information!