The National Retail Federation predicts people will spend an average of $688 on back to school shopping this year. That’s 688 of your dollars that could be going to car payments, groceries, rent and more! We’re sharing some tips on back to school shopping to help you keep a few extra dollars in your pocket.
1: Find out what you need. Ask your child’s school for a list of supplies, and ask them to note which are necessary and which are recommended. Sometimes it helps to wait before purchasing certain recommended items to see if they’re truly needed.
2: Take inventory of what you already have that’s still in usable condition. Can you get another class out of that binder if you just DIY a new cover? Better yet, can you get another few months out of that backpack? If so, look for a deal on the needed item later in the year, such as on Black Friday. If you can wait on purchasing new clothes, the end of September is often a great time to add to your child’s wardrobe at a discount.
3: Make a list—and stick to it! It’s tempting to splurge on unnecessary items because they look cute on the shelves. Remember, your list is your budget’s best friend.
4: Find out when your state offers a tax-free holiday. Most states do this at least once a year. Check out this handy chart with dates.
5: Look for durable items. While you’re shopping, make sure you’re looking for both durable and inexpensive. If you find something cheap that appears poorly made, you’ll probably have to buy it again sooner rather than later, which won’t save you much in the long run. So make sure the items you choose will last, while still being a good deal. Similarly, avoid trendy items, as they’ll most likely be overpriced. See if you can find last year’s trends instead, to get more bang for your buck.
6: Look in a few second-hand stores. Thrift stores and consignment shops are like treasure chests. You have to dig through some sand, but when you stumble upon that amazing deal, it’s worth the time and effort. You can often find notebooks, folders, pens and more.
7: Check out sales flyers. Find out where the items you need are being sold for the best deal, and see if you can find any coupons to make the deal even better! Take a look at our favorite places to find coupons.
8: See what you can rent. There are some items you may be able to rent for much less than the purchase price (such as graphing calculators), buy secondhand from Amazon or eBay or even borrow from a library (such as supplemental books for classes).
9: Save your receipt. It’s a good idea to hang on to receipts just in case the items you buy go on sale next week. Some stores will credit you the difference.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to conquer back to school shopping, while still keeping your budget intact. Now it’s your turn – What other tips do you have for back to school shopping on a budget?
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