Children groan when they begin to see back to school commercials pop up on their cartoon shows in early August, but like it or not back to school season is coming fast. When the time comes to shop for the kids, whether it’s now or the day before school starts, it can be tempting to make one trip and get everything imaginable on your list. But don’t be fooled by stores’ flashy displays and promised savings, back to school shopping can be dangerously expensive. So in order to save you cash and sanity during the shopping season, here’s 5 tips to save you money during back to school shopping.
Raise your hand if you’ve bought school supplies you already had? Before heading to the store make sure to run a complete and thorough inventory check list of what school supplies you already own. Remember to check the attic, cupboards, boxes, desks, and backpacks to find hidden gems. Why buy the same wooden ruler six times over?
2. Beware of Batman:
School supplies used to be boring, the only way to make a folder look exciting was to make an epic doodle of a monster on it with pen. Now everything from erasers to pencil holders have a unique design or theme. But beware of the branding. Superhero or princess supplies usually run more expensive, and although your children might delight in the fact that they have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pencil set, it won’t help their grades or your wallet.
3. Buy Bulk:
This may seem counter-intuitive, but buying bulk on certain items like pens, pencils, paper, and folders will be a long term investment for the entire school year. By going to places like Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, you can get these items at cheap bulk prices that will last the entire year. That way you won’t have to go back to the store in mid-February to get more pencils that are twice the price compared to August.
4. Be Critical:
Most schools will send a back to school supplies list in the weeks leading up to the first day. Although these lists can be helpful, remember to be critical. These lists tend to over suggest what is actually needed on a day to day basis. Use the prior school year’s past to judge whether you kid actually used that updated calculator, pencil holder, or large binder. By being critical you can save yourself by not over saturating you kid’s school supplies.
Don’t get everything before the first day. The first day of school is usually little to do with assignments and more about getting the students recalibrated to the classroom and schedule. By waiting to get the complete collection of school supplies, you can find out what is truly necessary for your child’s success at school. But can you play the waiting game long enough before you child starts complaining?