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10 Back-to-School Tips that Can Save Parents Money

4 minute read

By Christopher Brown

It’s a period filled with enthusiasm and anticipation, but gearing up to go back to school can also cast a long shadow on the family budget. You don’t have to spend a fortune to equip your children for the upcoming academic year. Today, we’ll feature ten insightful, tried-and-true strategies to help you save money during this back-to-school season. Start a search today to find great deals on back to school supplies.

Shutterstock: New Africa

1. Plan Early and Make a Detailed List

In the world of shopping – especially for back-to-school supplies – the early bird indeed gets the worm. Begin your preparations well ahead of time, allowing you to spread the cost over several weeks or months, reducing the financial impact.

At the same time, craft a meticulous list detailing the items your child needs for the upcoming academic year. A list helps you stay focused, reduces the temptation for unnecessary purchases, and ensures that no essential items are forgotten.

2. Conduct a Thorough Home Inventory

Before you venture out to the bustling stores or browse numerous online websites, start your shopping at home. Rummage through drawers, closets, and last year’s backpacks. Often, you’ll find lots of supplies, like pens, pencils, notebooks, or even lunch boxes, that are still in perfectly good condition and ready to be reused.1 This practice not only saves you money but also promotes sustainability by reducing waste.

3. Leverage Tax-Free Weekends

Many states offer tax-free weekends, usually in late summer, specifically designed to ease the financial burden of back-to-school shopping. You can save a significant portion of your budget, especially on more expensive items such as clothing and electronics, by aligning your major shopping sprees with these tax-free events.

4. Consider Buying in Bulk

There are certain items that students require year-round, like paper, pens, notebooks, or glue sticks. Buying these supplies in bulk at warehouse clubs or online marketplaces can result in substantial savings.2 Consider splitting the cost with other families to diversify your supplies without overbuying.

5. Utilize Store Loyalty Programs

Retailers often reward loyal customers with exclusive deals, special discounts, and cashback options. Before you start your shopping, check out the rewards programs offered by your favorite stores. Over time, the savings from these loyalty programs can accumulate, lessening the overall financial load.

6. Don’t Shy Away from Refurbished Electronics

Technology has become a fundamental part of modern education. If your child needs a laptop, tablet, or other electronics, consider buying refurbished items. These devices undergo rigorous testing and repairs to ensure they perform as well as new ones but at a fraction of the cost.

7. Organize a Supplies Swap

An innovative and community-building approach to saving money on back-to-school supplies is to organize a supplies swap event with other parents in your neighborhood or school community.3 This allows you to trade unneeded, surplus items for things your child requires.

8. Make the Most of Price Matching

Many retailers offer price matching as part of their competitive strategy. If you find the same product at a lower price in another store or online, they will match or even beat that price. Doing a bit of research before finalizing your purchase could lead to impressive savings. All the more reason to start early and plan ahead.

9. Explore DIY School Supplies

Creating DIY school supplies can be both a fun summer art project for your kids and a way to save money on essential supplies. Transform generic, inexpensive supplies with personal touches and creativity. Not only does this save money, but it also gives children a chance to express their creativity and start the school year with truly unique supplies.

10. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

Although it might be tempting to buy the cheapest supplies available, investing in better quality items often pays off in the long run. High-quality items tend to last longer and perform better, which means you won’t have to replace them as often. This is particularly true for items like backpacks, shoes, and tech gadgets.

Start Saving Today!

Navigating the back-to-school season doesn’t have to result in financial distress. By applying these ten money-saving strategies, you can ensure that your children are fully prepared for the academic year ahead without emptying your wallet.

From early planning and careful inventory to maximizing tax-free weekends and considering refurbished electronics, there are plenty of ways to make the most of every dollar spent. But remember, these are just the tip of the iceberg. The internet is an unlimited source of additional money-saving advice and creative ideas. Keep exploring and learn more ways to reduce the costs of going back to school.

Christopher Brown