This post may contain affiliate links. The Review Wire may collect a share of sales if you decide to shop from them. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
When the grocery store starts selling lunch boxes and school supplies, you know that the summer break days are numbered…
Back To School Shopping Tips
I can remember from my own school days the feeling of confidence and anticipation that came from going off to meet my new teacher and classmates with a new backpack, lunch box, clothes, and shoes. And now that I am a parent, I want to pass on these feelings to my kids without breaking the bank. Costs associated with back-to-school expenses can be crippling for families, but if you spend time before doing a little studying of your own, they don’t have to be!
So, as the lazy summer routines give way to more structure every August, this is when spending skills are tested for most families. Any change in routine can cause stress on the family spender, and if left unprepared, you may find spending can get out of control and leave you with the same old feeling of frustration. So, below are some back to school shopping tips to help make the shift go smoothly and with as little impact on the checkbook as possible.
- A little planning goes a long way. Before shopping for anything related to getting ready for school, spend some time with your kids discussing what is needed and when it is needed. This will give you an idea of the overall cost involved so you can plan accordingly. In about three weeks, revisit the list of things you classify as “Need Later” to see if you really need them.
- Each child will have different needs since each grade has different supplies, clothing trends, and lunch considerations. Before shopping, check the school website for more information, such as a grade-appropriate supply list. Most kids can get by in the first few days with the basics and then fill in the rest of the supplies after your student has met the teacher and knows what is expected.
- Shop for categories of items separately to enable tracking of your spending. For example, shop for all the lunch supplies on one trip and on the next trip, shop for the clothes, etc. If you lump all the shopping into one big trip for all your kids, losing track of your spending goals is much easier.
- Take advantage of sales for multiple purchases if you have more than one child to outfit for school. For example, buy one get one free snacks or drinks. For the most savings, combine a store coupon with an offer like this.
- Delay some of your purchases until after school starts. While there are lots of great back-to-school sales before school starts, try to hold off since often you will see even deeper discounts when overstocked inventory must go in a few weeks. Also, your child may change their mind about what they need based on the trends at school.
- Use the internet to find store coupons and online coupon codes that are not available anywhere else. Check out these coupon organizers on Amazon.
Remember, other expenses will be incurred as you get into the school year, such as after-school activities, school events, and gifts, so if you plan ahead, you will be in a better position to manage the financial impact.
Written by Amy Bergin, mother of three children, creator of THE COUPONIZER®.