8 ways to help your wallet survive back to school
Now let’s not lie, as much as we all love carefree summers, the thought of getting back to scheduled bed times and routine, is like music to parents’ ears. What doesn’t feel so good is the big hole that back to school puts in each of our wallets. Here are a few ways to save:
1. Shop at home before you hit the stores
My kids came home at the end of the school year with a few things still intact. Safety scissors are on the list every year, so no need to buy those if you already have them at home. Search through what you have at home and cross it off the back to school list before you head out to the stores.
2. Set a budget
When it comes to shopping for things like clothing and shoes, it’s easy to overspend, especially when you are in front of an absolutely adorable pair of $60 shoes that your child must have. If you set a budget before hand it is easier to walk away from the overpriced item and pick up the more reasonably priced $30 shoes because that is how much you budgeted for.
3. Shop a year in advance
Ever since my children were born I would hit up the stores at the end of season sale and buy the next size up from what they were wearing for the next year. I have scored $2.99 pants and shirts for my boys at The Children’s Place and had their wardrobe set for the next year.
4. Watch for sales and shop in increments
You don’t have to purchase all of your back to school supplies all at once in the same store. If you buy what each store has on sale and wait on the rest for another store sale, you could save a ton of money. Most stores will try and lure you in with one extremely discounted item (called a loss-leader), but there other items are not discounted. If you stick to the sale item and shop around for other items later, you could come out saving money in the end.
5. Shop consignment sales, and garage sales
You can find great clothing, shoes, and backpacks for a fraction of the cost at consignment stores and garage sales. If you never shopped a consignment store, you will be shocked at the quality of items you can find. The other great benefit is you can consign your children’s outgrown items and put the money toward what they need for the new school year. Garage sales tend to be even better because the person selling them items has no overhead and typically just wants to get rid of their clutter, so they will sell their goods for a great price and you can always negotiate.
6. Participate in a clothing swap
Swap clothing amongst friends, family, or even find a clothing swap online in your area or on Facebook. In my case, I have three boys, close in age, so I have the ability to hand down clothing from one boy to the next. However, if you have friends with children you could swap clothing amongst each other and mutually save money.
7. Take advantage of the tax holiday
Certain states offer a sales tax holiday where shoppers can avoid paying sales tax on defined items. Most take place sometime before the students return to school in the fall. Shoppers can save money on items like clothing, shoes, school supplies and computers. My state, does not participate, but to keep shoppers in the state, retailers tend to offer additional savings around the same time as the tax holiday.
8. Use coupons and savings apps
use your smart phone to search for coupons to specific stores you plan to shop at. If you are going to shop online, do a Google search for coupon codes before you check out. I save a ton of money using online coupon codes. You can also download savings apps on your phone that will give you coupons for local retailers. I use the Qcrazy app, which has tons of savings and coupons in my area. ValPak, Retail Me Not and Yowza are a few others that might have savings in your area. Shoptopia, is a great app that will help you comparison shop and find the best deal in your area.
These tips should help your family save money this back to school shopping year. Do you have any other tips or tricks you use to spend less and save more?