As summer comes to a close, the first day of school is quickly approaching. This is an exciting time of new beginnings, but it also brings with it new and sometimes unplanned expenses. In fact, average back-to-school spending is increasing year over year, with record highs expected for 2019. However, there are ways to get everything you need for the school year without breaking your bank.
Here are 5 tips for savvy back-to-school shoppers.
- Make a List
Before you start scrambling to find everything your child needs, create a well-organized list of needs and wants. Many elementary schools have these pre-made lists available, but it can still be helpful to make your own list in a way that’s organized best for you. This can help you stay on track while you’re shopping and avoid unnecessary expenses.
- Examen What You Already Have
The best way to save money is to not spend money! Compare your supply list to what you already have at home before you buy anything new. Often, leftovers from last year will cover a lot on the list. First place to check: last year’s backpack!
- Create a Budget
After you’ve created your list and done a sweep of the house to gather everything you already have, set a budget to cover the rest of the list. Go over the budget with your child; back-to-school shopping is a great time to teach children about budgeting and financial concepts. A pre-set budget will help keep you on track, and it can help your child learn how to make financial decisions.
- Plan a Supply Swap
Planning a supply swap with your child’s classmates is another great way to start saving before you’ve spent any money. Often, you can save by buying in bulk, but you may not need all the supplies you get for buying bulk. If you buy bulk pens and someone else buys bulk folders, you can plan to trade the excess supplies, saving you both money.
- Check for coupons
Before you head out the door, check your local papers, online, and social media for coupons, special deals, and rewards programs. It’s a good idea to follow some of your favorite retailers on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest savings opportunities.
With the school year just around the corner, the time to start preparing is now. Enjoy the rest of your summer and good luck this year! Do you have any back-to-school savings tips? Let us know on Facebook!