9 Back-to-School Savings Tips From Real Parents

back to school savings tipsYou’ve gotten their classroom, teacher and bus assignments, strategized your new family schedules for the school year and snapped that commemorative first day photo.

Maybe the first day of school was bittersweet as you watched your little one find her first seat on the big kid bus—and your even bigger kid refused your goodbye kiss. Perhaps you were the mom doing a (secret) cheer that summer has wrapped, knowing you could return to at least a few moments of morning silence.

Though the first day of school signifies the official end of summer for all parents, it also marks a new beginning: Of accomplishments, challenges, memories ... and expenses.

But that last one doesn't have to overwhelm you. Here, nine real parents share their secrets to to keeping back-to-school season under budget.


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  • emmegebe

    I spent less than $50 this year for school supplies for 3 kids (one elementary, one middle, one HS). First of all, we reused any durable stuff that was still in good shape from last year — backpacks, pencil boxes, scissors, rulers, lunch boxes, etc. Then, at the height of back-to-school shopping season, I sat down with my kids’ school supply lists and the Sunday newspaper ads and wrote down the best deals offered by each store for things we needed. Every office supply store and mass-merchandiser had different loss-leader deals like filler paper for 1¢ or markers for 25¢. During the next week, as convenient, I stopped by the various stores. If the loss leaders were poor quality or my kid had a preference for another brand or kind, I spent more. My spending total also included optional reams of printer paper and boxes of tissues requested by the schools.