It is the time of year when (other than Christmas) we parents spend the most amount of money on our kids – all for the sake of going back-to-school! It can be a breeze or a full-on hurricane depending on the list your school gives you for ‘must-haves’, and other random requests. As well as the, “I have to have that – all the cool kids are getting these’ arguments with your tweens.
I am having a bit of a panic attack just thinking about the bills on the back end. You know, when the credit card statement comes in the mail…and your child has already lost their pencil case…and the trendy jeans you bought already have a rip in them.
Ideas and Tips for Saving Money on Back-To School Supplies
So the key is finding ways to save on your back-to-school purchases. When it is a buck here and there, or full-on checks in the mail, there are ways to stretch your dollar and make the process not as bad as a pop quiz. You’ll be the valedictorian in saving money on back to school shopping.
1. Use sites like (referral) ebates.com. Not only do you save on your purchases from the retailer from which you are shopping, but you can also put some money in your pocket to pay the bills later on with ebates’ cash back program.
2. Find back-to-school items that do double duty, so you don’t have to spend twice as much. For example, this (affiliate) lunch box has a lunch tray and ice pack included. Plus the outside is machine washable, and inside dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to buy another lunch box mid-year – making your dollar go further.
3. Have a neighbor or friend clothing swap. Reach out to friends and neighbors and have everyone gather gently used clothing, bags, shoes, etc. and all meet together and do a swap. You might find that your neighbor’s son’s shoes he wore once, is a perfect size for your child – and your daughter’s unused leggings are perfect for her toddler!
4. Shop consignment. There are amazing items you can find, whether it’s a shirt or skirt, or items for those academic fairs!
5. Keep your eye out for holidays. Online shopping sites notoriously have sales and free shipping during holiday weekends, so see if you can hold off on some purchases for then.
6. Go tech! Use that smartphone for smart purchases. There are many apps that alert you to a better price at a local store nearby or another online retailer. A personal favorite, however, is setting up a ‘recipe’ on the website IFTTT.com. You can set up a formula where you get a text or email when a product you have been searching for is available on Craigslist or when apps go on sale!
And don’t forget to see my Back to School Segment on NECN!