The emails begin pouring in at the beginning of August when you’re not even thinking about the impending school year. Before you know it, you’re getting a list of items that your child needs to start their school year off right. Most of the time, it’s notebooks and organizers, but as your child moves through the grades, the asks may become greater such as the need for a $100 TI-84 Graphing Calculator and you’re suddenly wondering why they can’t do it on paper the way you were taught?! We digress. We all want our children to have the best in supplies throughout the school year, but not at the expense of our bank accounts. Here are 5 Back-to-School Shopping Tips designed to help get the most out of your debit card this back-to-school shopping season.
Just because it’s a new school year, that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be brand new. Make sure your children’s closets and desks are not already fully stocked with what they need. Maybe your child has grown into that shirt that was too big a year ago. What about the set of mechanical pencils you bought towards the end of the last school year? Are they still in one of your kids’ rooms? There is a possibility that your older children may no longer have need for items and they can be used by their younger siblings.
Develop a Budget
Simple enough and yet often neglected. Decide on a spending limit. If you don’t have a set dollar amount as a maximum, then you could overspend. Your budget doesn’t stop you from getting all the supplies you need. It prevents unnecessary spending and helps you organize what to buy and when. Which leads us to…
Prioritize Need and Wants
Trying to convince your children about the benefits of prioritizing your purchases may be the toughest part of this concept. Making a list of needs and wants is a great way to organize your shopping journey. Some items like notebooks, pens and new shoes may be more pressing than a new cover for a Chromebook. No one is saying that your kids’ wants won’t be addressed, but if you spread out the shopping by placing needs at the forefront, it may be easier on your bank account.
Buy generic. Honestly, #2 pencils are the same regardless of the brand, so why pay more? Buy in bulk. This is especially helpful if you have more than one child starting the school year. Discount shopping at dollar stores shouldn’t be ignored. There’s a difference between value and cheap and not everything at the dollar store is the latter.
Save as You Shop
Along with those emails in August, you’ll also start seeing coupons and store ads for back-to-school deals. Utilize these sales and discounts. Be on the lookout for rebate sites and cash-back apps that collect sale offers and coupons from various retailers in one location, plus offer you cash-back on top savings. Do your research on these websites and apps. Make sure it’s worth the effort. Be on the lookout for sales tax holidays in your state. Many states have added a second sales tax holiday week to coincide with back-to-school shopping. And that means more savings for you!