Believe it or not, the start of school is fast approaching and with that comes the stress to purchase schools supplies with an already tight budget.
As a mother to three school age kids, it’s a feeling which I know all too well.
So in order to save money during this time of the year I follow these simple steps.
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1) Inspect last years supplies
What can be reused? Many teachers will send students home with tons of supplies that were gently used during the year and a lot of these things are put in the backpack on the last day of school and forgotten with all the excitement of summer.
One great money saving strategy is to have your child pull out their backpack from the year before and dump it completely out. At this point, you are looking for any gently used or unused supplies which can carry over into the new school year.
Typically I find glue sticks, scissors, folders, pencils, sometimes even unused bottles of hand sanitizer by doing this search. This is also a great time to exam the condition of the backpack and determine if it needs to be replaced or simply washed.
2) Shop your house
You never know what the teacher will allow your student to leave the school with at the end of the day. I never want to get home from work only to find out we don’t have glue sticks for a project, and the ones which were sent to school are for classroom use only.
To avoid this frustration I’ve gotten in the habit of purchasing a little extra every year during the back to school sales to have supplies on hand. I store this supplies in what I call my homework bucket and we use most of it throughout the year.
This strategy has been a great money saver because I’m not having to run out to purchase full price supplies in the middle of the school year.
At the close of the school year, we often have plenty of supplies left over and when it’s time to shop for the next grade this bucket becomes the first place I look before heading to the store.
This has saved so much time and money.
3) Shop sales
At this point, you have figured out what you have on hand and what you actually need to go out and purchase. As the school season approaches stores begin to run sales on popular items this is the best time to stock up on all supplies needed.
Don’t be afraid to shop around many stores offer different deals on different items. Price match and use coupons to increase savings when available.
Shop during tax-free holidays. This is when stores in your state allow you to purchase school supplies, electronics, and clothing tax-free. This sale varies from state to state, and generally only runs for one weekend.
Combining all of these strategies will maximize your savings.
No Coupon? No problem! Another great tip to increase savings would be to shop at your favorite stores (like Wal-Mart) via cash back sites such as Ebates and Swagbucks.
With this strategy, you take advantage of the sales price, and you also qualify for a cash rebate on all items purchased.
4) Ask for Help
Another great way to decrease your spending is to ask for help.
Many parents have great support systems (grandparents, church members, Aunts, and Uncles) who are eager to help with the purchasing of school supplies.
Why not ask them to supply pencils or notebook paper for your little ones? Or to even sponsor a child completely by purchasing all items on their list. This will help you save a ton of money this school year.
These are the four strategies which I use to save money on school supplies. Have you used any of these strategies or any other strategy to save money on back to school purchases? If so I’ll love to hear about them please comment below.