Every parent dreams of providing their child with a quality education. However, it is not always easy as there are several challenges along the way, which include supplying your children with everything they need for school. A National Retail Foundation survey shows that parents spend approximately $27.5 billion on back-to school-supplies every year.
Back-to-school shopping being inevitable, it is vital that you know how you can save money while at it.
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Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Supplies
The following back-to-school money-saving advice will help you get everything you need for your kids without digging too deep into your pockets.
Work with What you Already Have
Always do an inventory before you go shopping to ascertain that what you have in your shopping list is needed. Most parents end up shopping for supplies that they already have. Take some time to go through the drawers and find if there is anything that can be reused. If you get lucky, you can eliminate that particular item from your list. If you find items of clothing that can be worn again, make sure you get your children to try them on so you can see how they are fitting and estimate how much longer they will last for based on how quickly your child is growing. By taking the time to go through your kids’ belongings before you go shopping, you will create a more targeted list and avoid buying unnecessary items.
Create a Budget
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The first step towards saving is having a budget. You can agree with this: having a budget gives you the discipline to avoid buying unnecessary things. To make this even better, you can request a list of the items required from your kid’s school. Some schools provide some supplies. Therefore, there will be no need to repurchase the same things. Use the school list to create a shopping list and develop a budget. Some of the items that you are planning to buy may not even be necessary.
Take Advantage of Clearance Sales and Offers
You need to always be on the lookout for clearance sales. These sales are usually distributed throughout the year. As you are shopping for your clothing, you are likely to come across items that could be useful at school too.
Retailers price their items even 50% off the retail price to dispose of their inventory. Stocking up for a rainy day won’t hurt.
When it comes to back-to-school supplies like notebooks, pens, and pencil cases, the big stores often slash their prices just before the kids are due back in the classroom, and these savings can be huge. While it might be a good idea to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get everything you need to return to school, it also pays to wait it out a little to get the very best prices.
Check the Prices Online
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According to Adweek, 81 percent of shoppers will do online research before buying a product. Thanks to digital technology, you have access to all the information you need about prices. Price match competitor prices and establish which one offers the best deals. As you are doing comparison shopping, you might even get lucky and come across deals designed for students.
Participate in Loyalty Programs
Businesses love to appreciate loyal customers. They, therefore, issue loyalty cards to regular shoppers. Enroll in one of these, and you will get points as you do your household shopping throughout the year. Come back-to-school; you can redeem your points and get school supplies for your kids.
Shop During Tax-free Weekends
Have you ever thought of putting tax-free weekends to good use? If not, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to save money on back-to-school supplies. Most states have these weekends where shoppers are allowed to get items from the store free of tax. Prices on school supplies are lower at this time, and it will help you save a significant amount of cash. Be on the lookout for your state’s tax holidays.
Get Coupons Through Your Email
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You have heard of email marketing. It is one of the most used digital marketing strategies by big brands. As retailers look to boost their sales through emails, you could, on the other end, save some money while doing shopping. This is how it works. The retailers often issue coupons to customers who sign up for their email newsletters. Sharing your email with such brands will be your ticket to buying school supplies at discounted prices.
Keep Your Receipts
Save your receipts and store them in a safe place so you can look back at the purchases you’ve made. This will help you to keep track of your spending to ensure that you don’t go over budget. Keeping hold of your receipts for future reference will also come in handy if you find the same items you have already bought elsewhere for cheaper.
Many stores operate a price match policy which means that they will give you a partial refund of the price difference if you have kept the receipts as proof of purchase. This is a great way to claw back some dollars when it comes to the back-to-school shop.
Take Advantage of Yard Sales
Most parents donate or sell what their kids do not use any more. If you are on a budget and do not mind buying used items, you could save a lot. If your kid just joined the school’s sports club, you will need to get him or her uniform and other sports gear. While they can be costly, a yard sale and Goodwill can come in handy. Provided the items are in good shape; there is no reason for not taking advantage of this.
Buy Second-Hand Equipment
Leading on from the point above, buying second-hand is not only a money saver when it comes to clothing but also when it comes to essential school equipment like books and electronics. Used electronics and books are much cheaper than buying new, and quite often are in excellent working order.
Check local thrift shops and social media for buying preowned items. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to go for used or refurbished electronics and other school supplies you might need.
Shop Throughout the Year
One of the best ways to save is to be alert at all times. Do not wait till the eleventh hour to get school supplies for your little ones. As earlier mentioned, retailers run their offers, liquidation clearance sales, and give coupons throughout the year. This offers you an opportunity to get the best deals, take advantage: you will never have to stress about back-to-school shopping.
Spend Money on Labelling Equipment
While it may seem counterproductive to spend money when you should be trying to save it, allocating part of your school shop to purchasing name labels for your children’s equipment could save you in the long run. It is easy for items of uniform like jumpers, blazers, and cardigans to get lost or mixed up with other children when kids are playing together and taking off their outerwear when they get too hot.
Sports kits have lots of items that are required, from shorts, t-shirts, socks, and shin pads that are easy for children to forget about and leave behind when packing up their gear in the changing rooms.
This is why it is important to invest in a laundry marker pen or personalized name labels that can be sewn or glued into clothing items, ensuring that your kids are reunited with anything they misplace or lose. Taking time to label clothes will lessen the likelihood of you having to splash out on replacement items when things go missing.
Consider a Career Change
If you have followed all of the above steps to save but are still finding the back-to-school shop an expense too far, it might be a good time to go back to school yourself or consider a career change. Switching to a more financially rewarding job is one thing, but you’ll also want to be able to fit this in around looking after the kids and your current commitments.
As a parent, you will likely be naturally caring and will probably have an instinct to help others and make a positive difference in the world. An industry that has these values at its core is nursing. Not only is nursing all about looking after people, but it is also a very flexible career with varied shift patterns, which makes it easy to fit in with parenthood.
Don’t worry if you think that you don’t have the relevant qualifications or experience to pursue a career as a nurse. If you have a degree in any subject, you can sign up to any of the accelerated BSN programs available to become nursing’s latest recruit. What’s better is many of these courses can be studied online, which means you don’t have to leave your kids and family while you qualify.
Parents always spend big during the back-to-school season. However, with proper planning, and of course, the tips above, back-to-school will be a day like any other. There are plenty of ways through which you can save money and earn more money to ensure that your kids have everything that is required.