August marks the frantic ritual known as back-to-school shopping, but the amount it costs to send children back to school can be outrageous.
According to a report released by National Retail Federation in June, the average American family with children in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend an estimated $688.62 for back-to-school shopping, which is up from $603.63 last year. To help, I’ve compiled a list of tips for parents and guardians on how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to back to school shopping.
Clothing: Take advantage of end-of-summer sales, shop sales and outlets. Start planning for the kids’ needs early and set a budget for each item the kids need. You can get good deals on end of season sales so look for your opportunity. Consider other options, young children can destroy clothes and grow out of them very quickly, so sometimes buying them new isn’t the best idea. Higher end consignment stores have brand new, gently used clothing that may be a better deal than department store sales. Trade clothes with friends for different sized clothing that the kids have grown out of by having a clothing swap at your house. Serve snacks and call it a back to school clothing party! Add backpacks and school supplies (you won’t need) and ask as many friends and neighbors to join in and you might not need to buy a thing! Still keep an eye on back to school sales and allocate a portion of your budget for things you have to buy new; like socks, underwear, shoes and other items that are better to buy new!
Backpacks: Some backpacks can be really expensive. Discount stores sell backpacks too so look for opportunities in stores like Marshalls or other discount retailers. Also, for a great deal check out local consignment stores, thrift stores and even garage sales. Gently used backpacks can go a long way!
School Supplies: Don’t buy everything in one place. Just because Staples has a great deal on loose-leaf paper, doesn’t mean you can’t get notebooks someplace else for cheaper! Check circulars and compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deal! Check your inventory! You will be surprised what you already have from years past. Make sure you check your office supplies and take the things you already have off your list! And next year, hold on to notebooks or folders that are still useable for reuse the following year.
Big Ticket Items: For big ticket items such as a laptop or a tablet, do your research! Check reviews and sales to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. Find a laptop or device with a rebate or incentive as Apple has for college students!
Bonus tip!: Never stop shopping for school supplies. Buy extra while it is on sale or if you see it on sale mid- school year stock up and save it for next year. Either way with increasing cost, couponing and planning ahead will help keep those back to school costs in check!
Do you have any tips or tricks that you stick to while back to school shopping? Share in the comments below!
Leslie H. Tayne, founder of The Law Offices of Leslie H. Tayne, P.C., assists consumers and individuals with the resolution of their unsecured debts. The firm's flexible and well established policies and procedures have helped thousands of individuals lead a debt-free life. For more information, call 1-631-470-8204 or visit www.attorney-newyork.com.