By: Jim Watson, Vice President, Trost Financial Consulting
Very soon, my kids will embark on another year of school. This year, we’re entering Grades 4 and 7. As we advance through the grades, the list of school supplies doesn’t get any shorter. I found myself having to get creative in order to save money during this often-expensive time of year. Below are 7 back-to-school money saving tips that have helped keep some money in my pocket this year!
1. Collect what you already have.
Check your back-to-school list closely. Chances are you already own some (or most) of the required supplies, as they may be left over from last year. Explain to your kids the importance of using things you already have, instead of buying new.
2. Buy multiples.
If you know your child will plow through their pack of crayons quickly, go ahead and pick up extras during your school supply shopping trips. Buying in bulk can help you save money per unit at quantity discount stores or online shops. Also consider stocking up for next year!
3. Wait to buy non-essentials.
While stores have been rolling out back-to-school displays for months already, consider waiting to buy the non-essentials. Once school is in session, school supplies often go on major clearance.
4. Buy quality when it matters.
Yes, those cheaper $20 backpacks are tempting, but they often don’t hold up for the entire school year. You may end up spending more on multiple, cheaper items. Backpacks and lunch boxes are great items to make long term investments on. Also, try to avoid licensed character merchandise, as they’re usually priced much higher than non-licensed items. That Disney lunchbox may be what your child NEEDS more than anything today, but who knows what they’ll be into in a few months.
5. Sign up for store emails.
Like it or not, one of the best ways to get coupons is to sign up for all the store deals, discounts and newsletters that you can. Many stores send out a weekly list of what’s on sale, and most even throw in a coupon too. And if you’re really tired of sifting through your personal email for all of those deals, you might consider a separate email address just for this purpose.
6. Visit money-saving apps and websites.
There are websites and apps available that can help you save money. Here are a few to take a look at:
- ShopSavvy: Simply scan the product barcode to find out if you’re getting the best deal. The app will even show if your store will price match!
- Flipp: This app shows you all your favorite stores’ weekly ads all in one place.
- com: Scour their back-to-school list for amazing deals on everything from pens to backpacks.
- Groupon: Search for school supply deals and coupons with this money-saving app.
7. Lastly, leave the kids at home!
Bringing the kids with you to go shopping for school supplies can make it more difficult to buy products on sale. Sorry, kids!
I hope these tips help you in saving a few bucks on your school supply shopping this year!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.