Back-to-School Shopping Tips That Save Time and Money
Soon the kids will be back in school and that means it’s time for back-to-school shopping. This time of year can be a little overwhelming as parents try to enjoy the last days of summer while also getting ready for the upcoming school year. There’s so much to do and so many things to take care of that it can be incredibly stressful. Of course, when you’re back-to-school shopping, costs can be considerable. Sometimes it seems like back-to-school shopping gets more expensive every year, especially if you have several children.
Here are some shopping tips to make back-to-school shopping easier and less expensive.
Make a List
Shopping for anything without a list is a bad idea, and this goes for back-to-school shopping as well. Before you buy anything, sit down and put together a list of what your child will need. Some schools provide a list of suggested items, but if yours doesn’t, talk to other parents, teachers, and your child to see what they need for the upcoming year.
Remember that you don’t need to buy all your supplies before school starts. Your child won’t need absolutely everything on the first day, and you can always pick up additional items later. Sometimes it’s a good idea to get the basic supplies first and then see what else you need as school year goes on. This will prevent you from buying more than is required and overspending.
Check What You Already Have
Before you buy anything, take a look at what you already have at home. Go through your closets, desk drawers, filing cabinets, and anywhere else that office supplies may be stashed and see what you can find. You might be surprised by how much you already have.
You should also look through the school supplies you bought for your child last year and see which ones are still good. Remember, absolutely everything doesn’t have to be brand new.
Create a Budget
Once you have an idea for what you need to buy, it’s time to make a budget. Write down how much you expect to spend on each item. Then, as you shop, compare what you actually spent to what you thought you would spend and adjust your budget as you go. If you overspend in one area, you’ll need to make cuts in some others to avoid going over your budget.
Different stores will have different prices. In one store, for example, you might find pencils and pens at affordable prices, while another store might have better deals on notebooks and binders. By checking out different stores (both in person and online) you can take advantage of the best deals. You might think that the best deals will all come from big department stores and giant online retailers, but this isn’t necessarily true. Look around and see what deals you can find before you make any purchases.
Give yourself time to complete your back-to-school shopping. Not only is it incredibly stressful to try to accomplish everything in the week before school starts, but you might end up paying more this way as well. When you’re pressed for time, you’re a lot less likely to shop around, compare prices, or look for deals. This means you could be overspending if you don’t give yourself enough time.
Get Items Second-hand
As mentioned, not everything needs to be brand new. Check out thrift stores and second-hand stores for backpacks, clothing, and other back-to-school items. You can save a lot of money by shopping for certain items in second-hand stores and you could find some very unique items while you’re doing it! Some thrift stores and consignment stores will even have back-to-school sales.
Buy in Bulk and Share
It’s often cheaper to buy items in bulk. If you find a good deal on certain bulk supplies, see if you can get together with some other parents, split the cost, and share what you’ve bought. This could save you quite a lot and make the shopping process a lot easier.
Spread Out Your Shopping
You might be tempted to go out and do all of your back-to-school shopping in a single weekend, but it might be a good idea to spread it out instead. This way you won’t be hit with a huge bill all at once. Plus, taking some extra time to do your shopping over a few weeks will be less stressful and allow you to really think about what you’re buying, what you really need, and how much you’re spending.