Back to School Savings
Six Tips to Get Your Little Ones Ready
July 22, 2014
Back to school shopping can be quite an exciting time for kids—they get new clothes, new school supplies, and get to share all they did during the summer. Parents can often have a slightly different view, with worries about how to pay for all the stuff they need to start the year off right. Thankfully, there are ways to save money when getting your kids outfitted for the school year.
- Take inventory first—There is no need to buy new clothes if your children don’t need them. So have a “Clearing Out the Closets Day” where the kids try on their clothes to see what fits and what can be donated. Also check what school supplies they (and maybe even you) have on hand. After all, those Crayons might be nearly brand new, and glue can last quite a long time.
- Set a budget and make a list—While this is all well and good, the more important thing is to stick to them! After all, they’re both useless if you’re not going to follow them, so avoid those impulse purchases.
- Shop used or share—While tweens and older kids might want the latest fashions, younger ones usually aren’t as concerned with what the labels say. Check out second-hand stores for younger kids, as there is no sense in spending $25 for a pair of jeans that will only last your six year old for a few months. And if you have friends or family with kids around the same age as you, have a swapping party where you all bring old clothes to share. It can be a fun and inexpensive way to outfit your son or daughter for the season, all while cleaning up some clutter.
- Shop around—Don’t just head straight to the mall or big-box store. Instead, check out ads and online options. You might get a better deal on some supplies or even clothes, and you won’t have to deal with crowds.
- Check for special tax-free days—There are several cities and states that offer tax-free shopping days as the school year approaches, which can save you quite a bit depending on how much you need to buy. Things like paper, pencils, crayons, and even laptop computers might be tax free. Check the websites of local governments (city, county, state) to see if there are special days like this in your area.
- Prep for lunch—If your child’s school has a meal plan you have to fund, start saving money for it each week over the summer. This way, you’re not waiting until the last minute and upsetting your budget. If your child takes his or her lunch, you can save by buying a water bottle instead of using juice boxes and by using reusable containers for sandwiches and sides rather than plastic bags.
Following these tips might not earn you a gold star from the teacher, but they could save you some money this school year.