August has arrived and so has the back to school promotions! If you have recently visited department stores – whether in person or online, you may have noticed the school supplies are already on the shelves or just one click away. Keep in mind that shopping for school supplies and new clothes doesn’t have to break your budget. Today we are offering a few tips to help you get ready for the back to school shopping season.
- Create your list (and stick to it). From clothes to the supply list provided by your schools, creating a list of your must have items for the new school year will help you stay on track and on budget. If you are shopping with your kids, preparing your own list in advance will also help you make sure your child has the things they need instead of a chaotic free-for-all shopping experience at the store.
- Check your current supplies. Before you shop, be sure to search your closets and drawers at home for what you may already have. Scissors, pens, pencils, folders, or notebooks - you may be able to utilize last year’s supplies that are still in good condition.
- Track sales and special offers. Take advantage of the back to school sales and discounted offers. Utilize coupons found online and in your local paper. By keeping track of what you need (from step one), finding where the sales are could save you time and money. Keep in mind that the best sales on clothes might be after the back to school rush has passed.
- Shop dollar or thrift stores. You may not find all of your supplies here, but you can get a great deal on items like paper, pencils, rulers, erasers, etc. Shopping for less expensive, basic items will save room in your budget for some supplies only found in major department stores.
- Garage sales, resale shops, and online listings. From clothing to furnishing your freshman’s dorm at college, garage sales, resale shops, and even Facebook Marketplace offer the chance to find great deals on lightly used items. Be strategic when you shop, check the quality, and always be cautious of scammers when shopping online. See these Online Shopping Tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance: https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/online-safety-basics/onlineshopping
- Skip the “popular” items. They often are the most expensive items and don’t stay popular for long.
- Plan for next year. After the back to school rush is over, pick up discounted items that you know the kids will need next year. Find a convenient place to store them and clearly mark the container. If you lean towards being an “out of sight, out of mind” type of person, it may be wise to add a reminder on your calendar for next July or August and be sure to note where you are storing the supplies.