It is that time of year again for kids to get ready to go back-to-school! With inflation continually rising, prices on all kinds of items seem to soar and school supplies are no exception. The National Retail Federation found that the average family might expect to spend roughly $800+ in 2022, with college students preparing to spend even more than that.
If you have multiple children, school shopping can add up fast. If paying for school supplies is something you cannot afford as a low-income family, check out Free Financial Help for resources on where to find free supplies. Otherwise, to help alleviate some shopping stress, here are 5 tips for back-to-school shopping.
Shop Online First for Back-to-School Items
Try searching for items online first. There are typically more sale items online than there are in actual stores. When searching for items online, do your research for legitimate websites and try to bundle items to save more. Utilize “Amazon Days” if you are an Amazon member or see if you have any credit card perks when it comes to shopping online.
Additionally, online shoppers can use coupon browser extensions to automatically find discounts while they are shopping or apply discount codes at checkout. For most stores, you can get supplies delivered directly to the store for local-pick up or directly to your house. In some cases, there are “lockers” or package delivery places that can also hold your items.
Shop Used Items for school supplies
Shopping for used textbooks, lightly used supplies, and used clothes can be a great way to save money (this can also be done online). There are a few online platforms for buying used items– like Amazon’s feature of used items or Kidizen and ThredUp for used clothes. Goodwill and Plato’s closet are also great for finding lightly used clothes at great prices.
Textbooks and other light-used school supplies can be found online in places like Facebook Marketplace and Amazon. You can also check out your local bookstores that might offer discounts for students. If these options don’t seem to satisfy you, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family members that may have some unused supplies laying around.
Don’t forget to check in with the Salvation Army, Churches, United Way, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and local charities/organizations that specialize in helping children and families.
Searching for physical or online coupons is one of the fastest ways to save money. There are plenty of companies that offer discounts for consumers that sign up for email subscriptions or are frequent shoppers. For example, Walgreens members can add “virtual” coupons to their accounts before they go physically buy items. When they check out, those coupons will be automatically applied– fast and easy. It may be worth checking to see what stores you like the most and benefit from their member rewards.
Buy In Bulk
When it comes to things like notebooks, folders, pencils, paper, staplers, etc., it is a good idea to buy in bulk! Purchasing items in bulk as opposed to buying per item per semester will always be cheaper, especially for larger families. Plus, any supplies you don’t end up using, you can keep for next school year or donate to others in need!
Shop Without Kids
If you can afford not to bring your kids shopping, we recommend you do. Although back-to-school shopping is one of the most exciting things for some kids, it may help alleviate some pressure and stay within your budget if you leave your kids at home. Our kids tend to have endless opinions and thoughts about what they want and when they don’t get what they want, it can be an entire dilemma.
A helpful idea may be to do the majority of school shopping without your kids, buying things that fit their likes, wants, or needs, and then taking them on another trip where they can pick out a few of their favorite items that aren’t necessarily on your priority list. This can also apply to online shopping as well.
August 1, 2023
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