Three kids. Three grades. Three personalities. Back to school and its necessary shopping is already in the works. In fact, while walking through a store yesterday, I saw the school supplies and sales on clothing already popping up.
Speaking of shopping, be sure to check out the latest back to school sales for clothing, supplies, furniture, and more!
Through the comments of my kids protesting school starting in six weeks, I made a mental note to sit down soon and prepare my budget. Between clothing, school supplies, backpacks, shoes, hair bows, and more, back to school season is often the most expensive of the year. Planning ahead, taking advantage of sales, and knowing your limits will help you get through it without taking a second mortgage out on the house. Read on for 4 tips on how to save on back to school shopping for your family.
1. Get your ducks in a row
Now that I’ve become a somewhat savvy single mom who’s married to her budget, I’ve begun to understand the incredible value of hand-me-downs and clothing that can be worn another year. Don’t get me wrong, my kids get plenty of new things for the new school year, but sometimes there are things in their closets that were never worn, were too big last year or that little sister drooled over and now gets to have. So before I hit the stores, the girls and I go through everything in their closets to make sure we actually know what we need versus what we want! It’s a time-consuming task, but a money-saving one in the end.
2. Use the sales
If you didn’t take advantage of the clearance racks at the end of the school year last year — like me — then it’s time to use the early sales to your advantage. I check in-store circulars and online to see what’s coming up. There’s almost always a sale in the middle of the summer for shoes and clothing to get the season started.
I do the same with school supplies, as well, since I know retailers want to get a jump on their sales data for the season. Outlet malls are especially good about preseason sales, so if you can find information on those online it can help your bottom line!
3. Use tax-free weekends
I love tax-free weekends. Most states have them now and they can save you big money when bulk shopping for back to school. I’ve saved hundreds in taxes on back to school items like good, sturdy shoes — which can otherwise hurt the pocketbook.
I do pre-shop, however, so when I hit the very busy stores on that weekend, I already have a good idea of what I want. I usually check the store online before heading out and make my first, second, and third choices. Things go fast that weekend, so if I really want a particular item I’m the first one at the store!
4. Use online shopping to fill in the gaps
I love to online shop, but with back to school — especially for clothing — I like to shop in the store. However, if I’m in a store and see what I want but can’t find the right size or color, I take a photo of the tag on my phone and later search for the item at home. I do this a lot for heavy and bulky items like backpacks and binders so I don’t have to carry them through the store.
There are so many things that we, as parents, need to provide for our kids. This becomes very apparent at back to school time. We want our kids to fit in with the latest gear while still allowing us to put food on the table. Being honest about your budget and what you need and don’t need is the best way to get through the season with the least stress possible!