How to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-school doesn’t have to be a financial pain. With great planning, you can even make it fun.

Money Saving Tips

Find the official list: don’t just start buying stuff blindly. Find the official supply list and see what is needed. You can check the local store or school’s website. That is what will guide you while shopping. 

See if you already have some of the stuff: don’t throw out the things that your child brings home at the end of the school year. If you kept everything, check whether there’s something you can use for this year. And comb the house too. You may find pencils, highlighters or even a calculator.

Follow stores’ social media pages: this is how you know where sales are happening. Follow Amazon Deals, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc. 

Shop around: go through the pages and see where you will get the best deal for what. And then categorize your list. Keep fuel costs in mind if you’ll be driving from one store to another.

Cheaper doesn’t always mean better: they say cheap is expensive. You want high-quality stuff, otherwise, you will have to buy most of the things again. Instead of “cheap”, think “value”. 

Buy used: don’t make your kids go to school with worn out stuff just to save. But everything doesn’t have to be new. Check thrift stores, garage sales, Facebook selling groups, etc.

Tax-free weekend: more states are starting to offer tax-free weekends. Find out when your state is hosting one and take advantage. And it is not just kids who are allowed to participate. 

Careful with the extracurriculars: the school clubs cost money. The French Club may be free to join but you will have to buy some provisions and maybe even pay for lessons. Set rules, especially if you have multiple kids. 

Go shopping alone: there’s nothing wrong with taking kids to try out some of the things like clothes. But if there’s nothing to try on, go alone. The children can easily make you go off track.

Plan for clothing: before you go shopping for clothes, sort through the children’s closets.  See what they have and what they don’t. Also check whether there are clothes that the older kids can hand down to the younger ones. 

Cash-back apps: when you buy stuff, some apps like Receipt Hog, Dosh, Shopkick and Ibotta reward you with gifts or cash. The money could go to something else that the children need. 

Spread out your shopping: check your list to see if some things can wait. Instead of buying everything at once, spread out over a couple of months. 

Budgeting for Back-to-School

If you only have a few weeks until school begins, you don’t have the advantage that comes with months of planning. But come next year, make sure you are properly prepared way ahead of time. Sit down and assess all the expenses that come with school—clothing, extracurricular activities, donations, etc. Then create an expense category to save up for them. 

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