As the end of August is quickly approaching, families across America begin to shift their focus on the new school year. Schedules begin to change, retailers line their shelves with back to school items, and families begin their annual rush to get deals on supplies before the first day of school.
However, many families often overspend on school supplies for the new year, but you don’t have to let retailers fool you into breaking your budget.
So, how can you stay within your back to school budget this year?
1. Only purchase essentials.
Before classes begin, your kids will need school supplies, but they won’t need everything off the shelves. During the first week of classes teachers will often send home a list of needed supplies. Therefore, wait to make large purchases on uncommon items, instead focus on purchasing common school essentials such as:
Pencils- Every student needs to have pencils handy. Whether your child prefers mechanical or traditional pencils, make sure Number 2 pencils are on the list. These type of pencils are needed for standardized testing.
Pens- Pens are great for older children, but be sure they aren’t colored. Black or blue inked pens make it easier for teachers to read.
Calculators- If you have a middle or high schooler in the family, then they’re going to need a calculator for their math classes. Advanced classes may even require them to have a special graphing calculator, so be sure to get the one that they need.
Lined Paper– Even in today’s technology saturated age, students are still required to write in paper to take notes or complete an assignment. Loose leaf paper in a binder or notebooks will do, just make sure it’s enough to get them through the whole school year!
Index Cards– Not only are index cards extremely inexpensive, but they’re great studying tools for any age. Help your child ace their next vocabulary test by picking up a couple packs of these.
Folders- These may be provided by teachers in the classroom, but just in case, grab a few so your child has a place to store their homework and keep important paperwork organized.
2. Look for sales.
Every retailer looks forward to the new school year because sales boom at the end of the August and beginning of September. In fact, families spend billions of dollars every year on school supplies, so it’s no surprise that retailers jump on board to attract people to their stores.
Just be sure to do your research ahead of time so you’ll know what to purchase where. In fact, back to school sales often include common supplies being marked down to as low as 25 cents, freebies, and even bundles. This is a perfect way to stay within your back to school budget.
3. Take advantage of Tax Free Week.
Tax Free Week varies from state to state, but typically occurs towards the end of August. This special week offers families even more savings on back to school products because they won’t have to pay extra money in state taxes on their total sale bill.
4. Start couponing.
If you aren’t couponing, now is the time to actively start collecting them. Food brands promote coupons for their products around this time of year, which can help you save big on your children’s lunches
Not to mention, you can obtain even more savings by subscribing to a retailer’s email or text subscription service if they have one. Subscribers can receive special coupons and deals through email or by text by entering their information.
5. Be practical with clothing.
Summer may not officially be over yet, but with the fall and winter seasons primarily taking place during the school year it’s important for your kids to have the right clothing for any type of weather, especially if you live in a snowier region of the country. Common clothing essentials include: rain boots, raincoats, snow boots, sneakers, long and short sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, gym clothes (for middle and high schoolers), sweaters, and khaki pants.
However, similar to school supplies, you don’t need to go crazy purchasing new items. Only purchase what your family needs. Don’t follow fashion trends, budget wisely, and replace items that are worn or that your children have outgrown.
Additionally, before you make any new clothing purchases, be sure to adhere to your child’s school’s dress code. Many schools do not allow ripped jeans, short shorts, sandals, and hats to be worn, while certain schools may require a uniform to be worn.
Make this school year the best yet with the help of these back to school budget tips. Of course, finances aren’t the only thing parents worry about when school is in session. Check out our blog to keep your kids busy after school by clicking the button below.