How to Save Money this Back to School Season

There’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new school year.

No matter what age your children are, there’s always a little excitement in the air. And it’s always fun snapping that “First Day of School” photo and comparing it to last year’s!

That first day will be even more memorable if you feel like you got the best deal possible on all those shiny, new supplies and spiffy uniforms. So let’s check out a few ways to make this year’s first day of school the best ever.

Start early

Time is money. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.

The earlier you hop on back-to-school sales, the better because it gives you time to compare the best deals possible. It also affords you time to create a list of what’s necessary and what isn’t. Try keeping that list near you while you shop. It can help keep you on track in all the hustle and bustle.

Figure out how much you want to spend

Creating a budget just for school items might not be practical for you. Don’t worry. Simply determine a fixed dollar amount and don’t go over it.

There’s one hitch in this plan. Schools sometimes don’t send out supply lists until a few days before the first day. If your child has been at the same school for a while, you can use past history as a guide. Otherwise, hop on social media and start asking around in local groups. You might be amazed at how much great information you get.

Don’t overpay for the basics

Let’s be honest, pencils are pencils. There’s no need to pay a higher price for basic school supplies. Instead, save your money for the big-ticket items where choice is limited, and no generic brands exist.

But some schools charge a supply fee and buy all the items for you in bulk. So how do you know if that’s the best deal?

One way is to ask for the price list of items and compare what the school pays to what you would pay in the store. Then, if you can get a better deal on your own, ask to opt-out of the school fee.

Look for uniform swaps and discounts

Uniforms are one of the most expensive items on your shopping list. If you have old ones in good shape, see if you can trade them in for a discount at a uniform store. And if you have young children, try to buy the least expensive uniform possible. They grow out of them fast, so you’ll be buying again before you know it!

Final tips and thoughts

School supplies and uniforms can be a big hit on your account all at once. Try saving a little each month throughout the year to avoid one big hit at the beginning of every school year.

Finally, if you have to go to a store to get supplies, try going alone if possible. Remember that earlier tip on not overpaying for the basics? It’s much easier if there is no little tyke at your elbow lobbying for a name-brand notebook that costs three times the price of a generic one.

Happy deal hunting, and here’s to a great start to a new school year!