We've got about a good three weeks here before school starts back. Parents everywhere are probably rejoicing, children are groaning and teachers are wondering just where in the world did their summer go.
However, one thing parents won't be rejoicing about is the cost of back to school supplies and clothing. Besides if your kid is like mine, their feet are going to grow three sizes in one year resulting in wearing those new shoes for only about 3 months. Back to school can especially be expensive if you've got quite a few kids vs having one or two. Well, I have three and I'm always looking for a way to stretch our dollar. Here are some tips I've picked up through the years.
Saving Money On Back To School Supplies
1. Reuse supplies. Check to see what you already have at home and can be reused for the next year. Book bags, lunch boxes, pencil cases, 3-ring binders, etc. can be reused if they are still in good condition.
2. Stock up. When those crayons and markers go on sale for 50 cents. Don't just buy one, buy a few. Children seem to eat crayons and the marker tops always seem to mysteriously disappear, so you're probably going to need them through out the year. Also, these would be great to give to the classroom teachers to help their pockets out.
3. Shop sales and Clearance at department stores. I always find amazing deals shopping the semi-annual/annual sales. You can really get a lot for your money and I'll even buy out of season in a bigger size for later.
4. Don't wait until the last minute. You're probably going to be stressed out by all the shoppers and not choose your purchases wisely and probably end up spending a lot more than you intended. This also means that you're going to need a lot more money at one time.
5. Shop online. Check for free shipping, promo codes, and deals.
6. Shop second hand. Check out consignment shops for gently used items at a fraction of the retail price.
7. Have a clothes swap. Get together with other moms and exchange lightly used clothing that is in good condition. I've never done this one, but we hand down our clothes as well as accept them.
8. Check for coupons and watch ads. Several store ads will print coupons in them like OfficeMax, Kmart, etc. Use them. Also make sure to watch those ads. Stores are competing for your business.
9. Pull out your sewing machine. This is easier with young kids rather than older ones. Many websites and YouTube have several tutorials for creating gorgeous hand made clothing.
10. Get Crafty. Make your own hair and other accessories for the kids, let them decorate their notebooks vs buying the $5 spiral one because it has a special cartoon character on it. Use stickers and craft materials to personalize them and make them their own.
11. Choose quality. Sometimes the cheaper item isn't always the best deal if you'll have to replace it before want to. Pay attention to quality and how well something is made.