It’s one of the most dreaded phrases in most children’s lives – back to school time. I know that summer seems like it just began, but the reality is that many children will be heading back to school in about a month from now. Many students start school in late August.
I honestly don’t know how large families afford shopping for back to school. Just the supplies alone is enough to make you feel like you have to take out a second mortgage on your home. Supplies can cost hundreds of dollars – and that is just for two children. I don’t know how parents of 3, 4, 5 or more children do it.
Supplies are one thing, back to school clothing is another. It amazes me how quickly kids grow, even teenagers. Some how they never fit their clothes from the year before and you end up buying an entire new wardrobe. I’m grateful that my teenage daughter has stopped growing (although she’s very petite). Meanwhile my son just keeps growing and growing and growing. I refuse to spend a lot of money on clothing for him because no sooner do we buy him something he outgrows it. I’ve actually started to buy clothes a bit too big for him just so he gets more wear out of them.
There are several ways you can help reduce the costs associated with back to school shopping. Here are a few tips that my family does to help lessen the costs.
Stock up – Throughout the school year if I happen to come across a great sale on school supplies (paper, notebooks, pens…) I stock up on the supplies I know my kids will need.
Shop at discount stores – The loose leaf paper from the dollar and discount stores is just as good as paper you buy at the big name office supply stores, and a lot cheaper too. Often these types of stores carry most of the supplies you need.
Recycle – At the end of the school year I look over my kid’s binders and notebooks. If they are in reasonable condition, or have plenty of paper left in them, I put t hem aside and have my kids use them the next school year.
Buy out of season – If your child has stopped growing, or if you want to “guesstimate” what size your child will be wearing, take advantage of off season sales and clearance items. If the spring pick up sweaters, jeans and long sleeve shirts. In the colder months check out the clearance racks for short sleeve shirts and shorts.
Take stock – Have your children go through their drawers and closets. Toss out things that are worn or stained. Take stock of what they have and what they need so you don’t end up buying too much.
Buy only the necessities – Resist your kids begging and pleading to buy things that you know that they don’t truly need. One or two things is fine but don’t go overboard.
Coupons, Coupons, Coupons – You can’t go wrong with coupons. Check out places like Passion for Savings. There you can check out coupons and discounts for many stores you might shop at like Target, Walmart, Staples and CVS. I found some JCPenny printable coupons on their site that I plan on using to pick up some clothing for my kids.
Another suggestion would be to borrow the big ticket items you might need, or see if a friend or relative has what you need that they no longer have a use for. One you my daughter needed a very expensive calculator that we couldn’t afford. Thankfully my husband’s friend’s son had one that he no longer needed so they generously gave it to us.
If you have more than one child be sure to save some of the things from the older child for the younger child 0r children. For example, my daughter takes Italian in school. We purchased several English/Italian books for her (dictionaries and the like). Our son takes Italian too. He now uses those same books because our daughter no longer needs them.
A lesson we learned a few years ago from a friend is DON’T buy a lot of back to school clothing. Buy a first day of school outfit instead. Most likely kids will resort to the clothes they currently have after the first day or two of school when the novelty is over. Instead wait until later September/early October when most of the back to school fashions are on sale.
I’m sure many readers have some great tips or suggestions on keeping the costs of back to school shopping down.
I have a $25 Visa gift card to giveaway to a lucky reader, compliments of Passion For Savings. Thank you Passion For Savings! Feel free to stop by and check them out at PassionForSavings.com.
This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at 11:59 PM (EST) on August 7, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen in their place.
To enter please comment on this post and share with me a money saving tip for back to school shopping.
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*This post is curtosey of Passion For Savings however the thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. Passion For Savings will be providing the prize.