Going back to school is probably the last thing your kids want to think about on summer break. But parents might be worrying about all the back to school costs they’ll incur over the next few weeks; the new clothes, supplies, and shoes that kids will need to start the school year off. We’ve put together a list of 10 ways to save money on back to school shopping.
This seems obvious, but stores tend to have specific sales targeting those shopping for back to school items. You can find large discounts on school supplies, clothes, and shoes. Keep an eye on your newspaper, stores’ social media pages, and other advertisements.
Whether you scour Craigslist, shop garage sales, or buy from resale shops, you can find gently used supplies and clothing for pennies compared to buying brand new. If you have older children in high school or college who have to purchase textbooks, you can find used copies online or in used book stores.
Use last year’s items
Your kids will probably push for shiny and new supplies – but stand firm. Many items such as backpacks, lunch boxes, and folders can be reused.
Stick to the list
This is another area where the kids will push – they’ll want extra supplies that they may not need. If your budget is really tight, simply stick to the list. If you have a little extra cash, allow each child one “extra” purchase.
Sell used items
If you have gently used items, make some money back by selling them. Posting on Craigslist, having a garage sale, or selling to resale shops will help offset some of the shopping costs for the new school year.
Tax Free Weekend
Many states participate in a “tax holiday” which is usually one weekend a year – right before school starts – where you do not have to pay taxes on back to school purchases. Last year New Mexico had the tax holiday in early August. While we couldn’t find any official posting about a 2013 tax holiday, we wanted to include this tip so that readers would know to keep an eye out for the announcement.
Office supply stores frequently have coupons in the paper, along with manufacturer coupons. You may also want to participate in a rewards program if your favorite store offers one.
Swap with other moms
If you have friends with kids who are close in age to yours, host a mom swap. Everyone can bring their gently used items and trade for what they need.
Spread out purchases
Supplies like glue, pencils, and crayons are standard on most school supply lists. Picking them up throughout the summer help you spread out the costs so you’re not buying everything at once.