Tips for Keeping Back-to-School Shopping Affordable This Year

two kids sit at a table with books, crayons, and other school supplies

For hundreds of kids and parents, there is hardly anything quite as exciting as the first day of school. For some kids, it marks the first milestone in the world of academia. For others, it marks the last time walking into a semester of scheduled education. But, for all the parents and guardians out there supporting those academic endeavors, the approaching first day of school marks a stressful urgency to get the most and best supplies to help kids on their journey.

With back-to-school shopping in full swing, it is as important a time as ever to make sure you are financially ready to take on the academic year. With the proper preparation, you can easily avoid needing debt settlement from the get-go and can prepare your family for an exciting new time filled with after school events, weekend birthday parties, and countless memories.

Get a Direct Supply List

One of the simplest and best lessons to learn when it comes to how to save money on back-to-school-shopping is to get an official supply list. Many teachers, especially those in elementary and middle school, provide specific lists to parents before the year even begins. The lists are usually pretty limited so that you do not have to worry about what your child may or may not need in the coming weeks. For those teachers who do not provide specific shopping lists, you can still reach out to them to find out what your child will need for the duration of the class.

Having this list is a fundamental guide for ensuring your children are fully prepared without you going fully broke. Kids tend to want all of the newest and coolest school items, and while the sales can be enticing, they are not always totally necessary.

Seek Out Shopping Sales

But just because you do not need every single one of those sale items does not mean you shouldn’t embrace their value. Back-to-school shopping sales are one of the highlights of the end of summer vacation. Dozens of retailers will offer cheaper items that you can buy in bulk. Many cities also host tax-free back-to-school weekends, so those sales come with even better discounts.

Go Through Old Supplies

Understanding how to save money on back-to-school shopping means understanding a fundamental environmental lesson — reduce, reuse, recycle. While new notebooks and pens and other items are super exciting for kids, they are not always totally necessary, especially if you are dealing with a tight budget. Regardless of the level of education you are shopping for, there is a good chance that you can apply those three R’s to your supply list.

Your notebooks, for example, are easily reusable. Most students do not completely go through notebooks during any given academic year. If you look, you will probably find that many were only halfway used, at most, which means there is plenty of paper that will go to waste if you automatically purchase new notebooks. Rather than splurging on new notebooks at the beginning of the year, encourage the kids to finish using the old notebooks or combine unused loose-leaf paper into a binder for them.

Don’t Go Overboard

All the flashy deals and the excitement for being back with classmates and steps closer to academic goals can make everyone a little wallet-heavy when they head to the stores. To prevent going into debt from day one of the semester, keep one simple thing in mind — supplies do not run out. It is not necessary to purchase supplies for the entire year right away, because there is a good chance that your kids will not even need them.

The best plan of attack to buy just one or two notebooks — unless otherwise specified by teachers — and a single pack of pens and pencils. If you need more, there will still be supplies available for purchase, and they may even be cheaper later on in the academic year when they are not in sudden high demand.

Go Used

Like most college students out there, it is quite likely that back-to-school collegiate shoppers want to avoid too much credit card debt in college, especially at the beginning of the semester. When looking for ways on how to save money on back-to-school shopping, a great option is to go for used items. Go thrift store shopping for clothes and dorm room furniture ask upperclassmen and Greek life friends for old notebooks and supplies as they graduate.

Even textbooks, which are notoriously expensive and can cause several hundreds or thousands of dollars bought brand new, can be significantly cheaper when rented or bought used. Many college students can get away with spending $100 or less on textbooks a semester by renting or opting for used books.

Buy in Bulk

School shopping tends to be a trip for parents and their kids, but one of the most cost-effective strategies is to actually get all your friends involved in the process. It is often significantly cheaper to buy staple items like notebooks, loose-leaf paper, writing utensils, and other office supplies in bulk. Parents of young children may be able to round up members of the PTA to purchase supplies and college students can easily work with friends and organization members to purchase stuff they need as well.

Get One-on-One Advice

Saving money is an essential part of thriving financially. School shopping can seem like a daunting time for your bank account, especially if you are a first-time college student or a parent with multiple children. If you are ever unsure of what your options are or how to save money on back-to-school shopping, all you have to do is contact a trusted debt relief specialist. Liberty Debt Relief can help answer any and all questions you may have and help you see how you can save money on supplies and spend more time making memories with your family this school year.

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