As a kid, back-to-school shopping is exciting and fun; you get to the store, grab the back-to-school list, and from there it’s a big treasure hunt for your new school supplies. As a parent, this can be stressful and expensive. Cut out the stress and get excited about back-to-school shopping with these easy, money-saving tips.
First off, figure out what’s left over from last year.
Chances are, whatever is on this year’s school list your kids probably have left over from last year. Crayons, markers, pencils, pens, paper, notebooks: find out what you can cross off of your list before you even go to the store. I remember sometimes my back-to-school list would say 5 notebooks, and I’d only use 2 notebooks the whole year and only use a few pages in the rest. The next year the other 3 notebooks were still pretty much brand new, so I’d just rip out the used pages and use it for the new school year. Also, sometimes teachers anticipate using books or items that actually go untouched all year. Some of my friends’ parents would even hold off completely on buying some supplies until the time came to actually use them.
Use older siblings school items.
If your oldest child has already been through this grade, then no doubt they’ll have supplies that your younger child can use. I had an older sister who kept her school equipment good-as-new, so things like colored pencils, rulers, protractors and calculators were handed down to me as she continually needed more advanced items. Several times we even ended up having the same teachers, and I would luckily be able to use her meticulous notes to study for quizzes and tests.
Download books, worksheets, and activity sheets online.
With the aid of technology, you can save tons of money by downloading books onto an electronic book reader, such as Nooks, Kindles, iPads, etc. Some of these downloadable books are free, and most are cheaper than buying from a store, not to mention a load of weight off of your child’s backpack. Also if you want to help improve your children’s grades or study habits, you can also find free lessons and activity sheets online.
Look for coupons or deals before you go.
Of course, every year there will most likely be items that you need to buy. For example, one year it might be a ruler, the next it might be a calculator, then a graphing calculator, then a protractor, and so on. For those things you absolutely need to purchase, you can either find stores like Staples who have back-to-school deals, or of course, Wal-Mart.
Lastly, leave the kids at home.
This is probably the best way to save money when you’re back-to-school shopping. Your kids will do everything they can to convince you that they need every gel pen color, or tell you that they need new crayons and colored pencils even though the ones from the year before are perfectly fine. Leaving your kids at home ensures a more organized, level-headed shopping experience. For those of you who don’t mind having the kids tag along, avoid impulse buys and make sure your kids aren’t sneaking anything into the cart.