It’s time to stop thinking about lazy afternoons and vacations to the beach, and start thinking about reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. That’s right, back-to-school time is upon us, which signifies the start of shopping trips dedicated to school supplies, new clothes and books.
The National Retail Foundation estimates that parents will spend an average of $603.63 on school supplies for each student, totaling $22.8 billion for grades K-12 across the nation. Don’t sweat the numbers: There are several ways you can save on back-to-school shopping that will have your kids prepped for school without leaving your bank account dry.
Here are four great ways to save on back-to-school shopping trips:
1. Check Your Own Inventory Before Heading to the Stores
You may think you’re out of notebook paper, pencils or folders, but when’s the last time you checked? Before you assume you need to replenish your child’s collection of colored pencils, go through what he already has. Then make a list of the missing items needed for the new school year, and stick to that list.
2. Enlist the Help of Friends
If you have school-aged children, chances are you know other parents who will be embarking on the great back-to-school shopping adventure this month. Scheduling a team shopping trip can help in several ways:
- You can take advantage of bulk supply sales at warehouse stores, split the cost and avoid overstocking your drawers.
- The kids will stay entertained when their friends are on the shopping excursion as well.
- It’s easier to stick to a list when you’re shopping with other people.
- You may be able to discuss hand-me-down items your friend’s children have grown out of (or vice-versa).
3. Thrift It
Depending on how picky your kids are, you may be able to shop for clothing and some supplies at thrift shops and garage sales. You could luck out and find a gently used backpack that another child has simply grown tired of. Best of all? It’s good for the environment!
4. Consider Buying Refurbished
While on the subject of used items, if your child needs a laptop or other expensive electronic, look into a refurbished one. Another great step for the environment, refurbished electronics will save you cash on the most expensive items on the back-to-school shopping list. You can find laptops on Amazon.com and many options at the Dell Outlet.
Most importantly, use the back-to-school shopping trip as an opportunity to teach your kids about money. Explain to them why you’re buying a certain backpack over a more expensive one and let them select their own items within a budget that you set. Kick off the school year right by teaching a lesson or two about the value of money.
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