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Back to school shopping is exciting for everyone. The kids are excited about going back to school, and you’re excited to have a clean house again when they are in school! But, back to school shopping can also be stressful, especially if you don’t have a plan. It can easily get overwhelming and expensive, which no one wants to deal with, but it doesn’t have to be. There are things you can do to keep your budget on track while shopping for back to school items. Below are five back to school tips that I use every year to save me money and keep my budget in check.
Set a Budget
The first step in sticking to a budget is setting a budget. It’s easy to go overboard if you don’t set a limit. Your limit might be different based on school uniforms or the cost of living in your area. My budget this year is $420. That’s $120 each for school clothes per kid, and $60 for Addi’s supplies since Atlas and Austen will not need to purchase supplies this year.
Shop Your Home First
I might have a slight craft hoarding problem. I have so many sets of paper, crayons, and markers around my house it’s probably not healthy. One of the ways I’m saving money is by shopping what I already have first. Pencils, crayons, and watercolor paint will not need to be bought. Addi’s pencil box from last year will work fine for this year, and so will her backpack.
By shopping my house first, I will save a ton of money in the end.
Check Your Ads
Check your weekly ads to make sure you are getting the best deals. You might find a great deal on Crayola at Target, but JC Penny’s might have a better deal on uniforms. I like to make a day out of back to school shopping, that way I can hit up all the stores I need to in order to get the best deals.
Check your local paper, store ads, and scour the internet for coupons to help you save money on back to school purchases. Target often offers coupons in their ads, as do many other stores. You can also look for manufacturer coupons for other things you need, such as facial tissue and hand sanitizer. Combine these coupons with the sales in your store’s ads for maximum savings.
Kids are hard on clothes, and when I became a parent I thought this would be something they would grow out of. Ten years in though, my oldest is still just as hard on her clothes as her little brother and siblings.
Because of this I often can’t bring myself to purchase their clothing new. I would rather spend half the price on a used pair of jeans because I know it will end up with holes in the knees within a few months. The only time I really deviate from this is to buy from Target’s Cat and Jack line, and that’s because they have a one-year durability guarantee as long you keep the receipt. I have a special envelope in my desk to hold receipts for this reason.
Many schools ask that you donate classroom supplies, such as paper towels and hand sanitizer, twice a year at back to school time and then again after the winter holidays. This doesn’t bother me as a parent like it does some, maybe because my degree is in elementary education. I know that schools do not get very good funding and they really do need help from parents to donate these items.
To help myself be able to give what is needed to our schools without breaking my budget I buy extras of these items at the beginning of the year when I can get great deals on back to school sales. I then just store them in my basement closet until the school needs them again. That way I only have to budget for them once, and often pay the lowest prices for them when I do. I’m also helping my kid’s school out in a way that I know they need.
Do you have any tips to save money on back to school shopping? Let me know in the comments below!
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