How to Get the Best Back to School Savings
Does back to school shopping have you worried about your own budget crunch? I recently read a report that in 2012 American families on average will spend more than $688 on back to school shopping – up from just over $600 last fall. It’s not that pencils and glue have gone through the roof in costs, but that clothing continues to account for the largest portion of that spending money. Add to those costs the addition of electronics (back in my day it was just a calculator – and that wasn’t until high school) on school shopping lists, and parents can feel the pinch in the pocketbook.
Save on your children’s back to school shopping by getting creative – and not worrying about cutting corners. There are deals to be had on everything from haircuts to gym shoes – and all of the glue sticks in between.
How to Save on Back to School Supplies
Electronics – If your child needs a new laptop or other electronic gadget this year for school, don’t forget to check ahead for extra savings and rewards. You can go directly to the source, such as heading online to Apple to find that college students, teachers, and school staff can get education discounts, and that parents can find great deals on back to school shopping. If you’re not in the market for a new computer, you can still find savings by taking advantage of rebate programs and shopping at retailers like Sam’s Club and Costco that usually have discounted prices.
School supplies at Staples – Go online to Staples and get their 15% off Back to School Savings Pass, which is good on those glue sticks and notebooks. If your kids (or you) have old 3-ring binders hanging around that are falling apart, take them into Staples and receive $2 off of a new one.
Back to School Clothing
If you’re like me, the kids have grown a lot since last fall – my oldest son has grown 6 inches in just the last 8 months, and has moved up almost 3 sizes for his shoes. As the oldest boy and grandson, there are no hand-me-downs to help ease the clothing need. But that doesn’t mean I have to blow my back to school budget just in the clothing aisle. Here are just a few ways I save when it comes to clothing shopping for the kids.
- Kohl’s – Sign up for their credit card just to get the discounts. Pay it off every month and you won’t be stuck with extra charges. The savings you can get as a card member are well worth the extra minutes. In fact, you can pay off the charges in the store right after you make the purchases. Each month there are great savings passes, and the shoe sales help ease the costs of new gym shoes.
- Consignment shops and second-hand – head here for some cute extras to fill in the wardrobe at drastically reduced prices. If you buy things like extra jeans, clothes for gym class, and basics like turtle necks, long sleeve tees, and hoodies, you can drive to the mall for a few favorite pieces to spice it all up without feeling like you just spent their college savings.
- Spread the pain – Instead of going to Target and crying when I realize that all I got were socks and underwear for 4 kids (but I spent more than the grocery budget), I spread out the spending pain. Each time I am in the store where I get these basics, I check for sales and clearance prices. Buying a few extra ahead of time save me a big bill later, and I have never had too many pairs of socks for the kids. In the winter be sure to check for clearance on short golf socks, and in the spring stock up on long socks when those prices drop.
- Haircuts – In August families can get haircuts for kids in grades kindergarten through 6th grade for free. Just call a local JCPenny salon near you to make an appointment. If August zooms by and you still need to get your child’s lovely locks trimmed, check out Groupon for local salon coupons near you.
I haven’t made the ritual stop for pencils or folders yet, but I’ve started the “Who has jeans that still fit?” ritual. I’m not sure where people are shopping that they have to spend $688 on supplies (even with 4 kids I rarely hit that – save for the new laptop last year). Don’t forget to teach your kids the lessons of bargain shopping – they are lifelong and budget friendly!