It’s almost that time of the year again: back to school! Parents can’t wait for it, while kids frown at the thought of it. Whether you’re sending your children back to school or going back yourself, one of biggest tasks on your to-do list is back to school shopping. While back-to-school shopping can be fun, it can also be quite stressful, as there’s a lot you or your child is going to need to have a successful year ahead. The cost of supplies can add up quickly too. Here are 5 budget friendly tips for back to school shopping:
Ask for a shopping list
Have a game plan before you even start shopping. It’s easy to waste money on things you don’t need. Ask your school or your child’s teacher for a shopping list. If they don’t already have one prepared (and most will be prepared), they can at least provide you guidance on what to buy. It will make things much easier for you and take the guess work out of shopping. You’ll only buy exactly what you need and still be super prepared.
Stock up now
An entire school year can be quite long, but back-to-school deals only last for a few weeks. What about the rest of the year? Stock up now instead of buying supplies for only the next few months. Plan ahead and get what you need now so you can take advantage of the deals. Months from now, the same things will cost more.
Kids might like new shiny things but it makes sense to buy used for certain items. For instance, your child is taking calculus this year and needs an expensive calculator. Does it make sense to spend over $100 on something he or she will only use for a few months? Probably not. Look for cheaper, gently used options instead. This is an especially important tip for college students who will need to purchase their own textbooks. Used is the way to go more often than you think.
Use what you already have
Remember to search your home first before you go out and spend. Many supplies, like notebooks and pens, are sitting in closets and desk drawers forgotten about and unused. Make use of what you already have. You can also reuse and repurpose items from the previous school year, like backpacks and binders.
Share with others
It’s a great idea to share with your schoolmates. Consider sharing instead of everyone buying multiples of the same item. This will cut down on waste and save you money. If you or your child is heading off to college for the first time, get in touch with their roommate first and decide who’s bringing what. You don’t want to end up with two microwaves.
Back-to-school is an exciting time of the year, but it’s also very expensive. The cost of supplies can add up quickly. Planning ahead will help you save more and stress less so you can spend more time on academics.