It’s hard to believe that the State Fair is right around the corner, but that means that it’s almost time for students to head back to school. Whether you’re getting ready for Kindergarten or College, back to school shopping can be costly. We’ve put together a few of our favorite tips to help you make sure that back to school shopping doesn’t break your budget!
Before doing any shopping, clean out your closets to find out if you might already have some of the items on your shopping list. There’s no sense in buying a new lunch box if you have one that’s in perfectly good shape. Designating a box or container for extra school supplies will allow you to keep track of what you already have and to prevent you from buying more supplies mid-year (at regular price) if you already have it on hand.
Take advantage of coupons and smartphone apps
Make sure to check out weekly ads for the best deals. There are also a number of money-saving apps to help you earn cash back on your purchases. Some of our favorites are Shop Savvy, Cartwheel, Shopkick, and Walmart Savings Catcher. SnipSnap allows you to forget the days of carrying paper coupons and take advantage of money-saving offers electronically. When you shop for groceries to fill the lunchbox, you can earn cash back with the Ibotta app.
Buy in Bulk
In many cases, buying supplies in larger quantities can save money over time. If you’re worried about not being able to use an entire pack of 100 mechanical pencils or twelve glue sticks, consider splitting the cost with a friend so that everyone saves some money.
Use back to school shopping as an opportunity to teach your children about budgeting and opportunity costs
Whether you’re shopping for the perfect outfit for the first day of school or a new backpack, your children should understand the costs associated with back to school shopping. Once you’ve identified how much you can spend, involve your kids in the spending process. If they are in charge of the list and the money, they’ll quickly realize that the opportunity cost for a Star Wars backpack may mean not getting the most expensive folders or markers.
Save money on textbooks by renting them
College students typically find the cost of textbooks to be a painful reality. Chegg.com allows you to rent textbooks, which normally results in a lower price compared to buying the item elsewhere.
This might seem counterproductive, but what we really mean is to stock up on supplies after school has started and when stores slash prices. Buying supplies at rock-bottom prices will allow you to put inventory in your “Supply Central” box for the future (see Tip #1).
What are some of the ways you save money on school supplies that we’ve missed? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below! Don't forget to check out more great ideas on how you can save on school supplies on our Pinterest board.