The back to school season can be a very stressful time for parents… am I right? Schedules are changing and all kinds of new expenses pop back up into our lives. Transportation, school supplies, clothes, lunches and various projects are only the beginning. Back to school can quickly seem like a money pit for a family with multiple kids!
Take it from me… I have 8 now! 🙂
If you haven’t yet, make sure you download my free school supplies stock up price list so you don’t pay too much.
Easy tips to Save on Back to School Shopping
So how can you overcome this seemingly endless supply of wants and needs? Here are some easy tips to help you save on back to school shopping this year:
1. Use the power of either/or on wants
One of the best ways to allow your kids some wants is to use to the old either/or method. This instantly turns two wants into one and does so with little resistance most of the time. Pick two similarly priced items and give them a choice….one or the other but not both. This cuts the budget by at least 50 percent for those items and allows your kids to enjoy a want or two. Your kids will still get something fun, but this is an easy way to save on back to school shopping… especially for clothes. This is probably the easiest to do to help you save money.
2. Shop with a list
Back to school shopping is impossible without a list and straying from that list ensures that you will overspend. Some parents have actually moved to online shopping for school supplies simply to avoid impulse pickups. This is not always effective because there are really cool things online as well. Still, narrow your focus and stick to that list!
3. Shop year round
Unfortunately, if you are waiting on back to school to shop for back to school, you are already behind a bit. The best deals on back to school items happen a few months into the school year or at the end of the school year with random clearance sales. Talk with your local department stores and ask when to expect markdowns. This is an awesome way to save on back to school.
If you want to save on clothes, we love to buy out of season to maximize our savings.
4. Work out a neighborhood exchange
If you want to truly lower your back to school spending, look into an exchange. Gathering some close school friends and parents and keeping up via social media can trim everyone’s budget. Post when you have things available and others can do likewise. This cooperative effort can make a huge difference over time. Many people have had great success’s with online garage sales to buy items such as lunch boxes and book bags.
5. Invest in quality on key items
Backpacks, gym bags, Trapper Keeper notebooks and calculators are the types of items you want to spend your dollars on. Paper, pencils and designer pens are a huge waste of your back to school cash. Invest in quality for the items that can last for years and go cheap on the things that are going to be used quickly. This back to school strategy is a wonderful way to ensure your budget stretches to the end of the school year and beyond.
For example, our boys back packs would fall apart in the middle of the year. Last year we “splurged” with coupons for nice nike backpacks. At first we hated paying DOUBLE what he had in years past. However, those back packs are still holding up strong. They lasted last year and after a quick wash they still look like new. I think we will get 2years… and maybe 3 out of them. That was definitely a money saver.
By the way… check out my post of over 100 backpacks for $25 or less!
Back to school doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. The key is to think ahead, buy when things are at their cheapest and share your resources with like minded individuals. If you follow those simple principles, you will find that you really can save on back to school shopping without going crazy. 🙂
By the way, don’t forget to check out my back to school guide that tells you the BEST prices for back to school supplies.
What are your tips to help us save on back to school shopping? Leave a comment and let us know.