Back to School Shopping Tips

Back to school deals are everywhere
In most parts of the country school starts next month and that means it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping. A recent Deloitte survey concluded that most families can expect to spend an average of $501 per student this year. Of course that includes supplies and clothing but it all adds up and holiday spending isn’t too far ahead either. The good news is if you plan ahead you can save a significant amount of money with some smart shopping.

Here are 5 tips for back-to-school shopping savings:

  • Make a List - Start with your school or teacher’s list but know that if you shop early there will undoubtedly be requests for items not on the list once school starts. Staples like paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, and even wipes are pretty much always appreciated. It’s always a good idea to pick up extra quantities while these are on sale because if you have to buy notecards or paper later in the year you will likely be shocked by the prices.

  • Check the Ads - Most stores use some school supplies as “loss leaders” to draw shoppers in hoping that they will buy a lot more than just those low priced items. Keep an eye out for ads from office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot, as well as superstores like Target and WalMart. Sometimes even grocery stores offer discounts on school supplies this time of year. You may be able to get everything on your list at just one of these stores but you can save a lot of money comparing prices.

  • Don’t Forget Amazon - If you are a prime member you can often find nearly the same if not cheaper prices on many school supplies without ever leaving your couch. A lot of inexpensive items are sold as “add-ons” only which means your order has to exceed $35 for them to qualify but if you will be ordering a lot of things at once this should be an easy number to reach.

  • Reuse - Chances are you still have supplies left over from last year that can be reused. Pens, rulers, staplers, notebooks, and backpacks are among the things that can be used for more than one year and then you’ll have more money for things that do need to be replaced, like clothing and shoes.

  • Wait for Sales - Most retailers will start putting summer clothing on clearance by mid-August as they bring in fall merchandise. This is a great opportunity to stock up on shirts and shorts that your kids will probably wear well into the fall, if not all year.

Remember to distinguish between wants and needs and help older children understand the concept of budgeting. Some families allow kids to splurge on one or two luxury items like brand name jeans or shoes as long as they stick to the budget for everything else. Whatever you decide, remember that Finance Source can help you find the best rates on Rewards Credit Cards and Personal Loans if you need extra money.