It’s back to school time again, which means it’s time to stock up on all the supplies your kids will need for the coming academic year. However, buying everything on the school supply list can quickly add up and put a dent in your wallet. Use these seven budget-friendly tips to get all the supplies your kids need without breaking the bank.
1. Take Inventory of Leftover Supplies
First of all, sort through your kids’ backpacks, desks, and drawers for any school supplies leftover from last year. Things like binders, paper, pens and pencils can often be reused. Make a list of any supplies you already have so you don’t buy duplicates. Also, check with older siblings who may have finished school this year to see if they have hand-me-downs they no longer need. These easy steps could save you a good chunk of change.
2. Make a List and Stick to It
Next, sit down with your child’s supply list and make a list of everything they will need. Check off the items you already have or can reuse from last year. Then focus your shopping only on the supplies that are still needed. Having a list will help you stay focused and avoid impulse buys or items your child doesn’t really need. Just make sure you take it with you to the store!
3. Shop Seasonal Sales
Keep an eye out for special back to school sales that offer discounted prices on supplies. Stores will often run sales for a limited time leading up to the new school year. Stock up during these sale periods but stick to the supplies on your list to avoid overspending. Sign up for rewards programs and email lists so you never miss a sale.
4. Buy Supplies in Bulk When Possible
Purchasing bulk packages of supplies your child will use a lot of, like paper, pencils, pens, etc., can help lower the overall cost per item. Just make sure to check that the bulk options meet any specific requirements from your child’s teacher. And only buy as much as you reasonably expect your child to use within the school year.
5. Look for Discounts on Electronics
Computers, tablets, calculators and other electronics can be pricey. So, it’s a good idea to look for discounts on computers and other electronics online before purchasing. Set up alerts so you’ll be notified of any price drops. Consider buying refurbished options that may have minor cosmetic defects, but function just fine. And check sites like eBay for lightly used electronics at a fraction of retail price.
6. Shop Discount and Dollar Stores
Check stores like Walmart, Target and dollar stores for discounted prices on basic supplies like notebooks, folders, pens, glue sticks and more. You can often stock up on these essentials for less at these stores. Just be aware of any specific brand or quality requirements from teachers so you don’t purchase products that aren’t allowed.
7. Buy in Coordination with Other Parents
It might also be a good idea to talk to other parents about doing a bulk, combined purchase of common supplies needed for the classroom. Teachers will sometimes provide a list of these items. You can save money by splitting a bulk purchase. Just make sure you split who buys what evenly with the other parents.
With a little planning and smart shopping, you can get all the items on your back-to-school list without overspending. Use these budget-friendly tips to keep more money in your wallet while making sure your student has everything they need for academic success this year.