Back to school shopping in August? Why, yes! Believe it or not, by the time this blog is posted some parents will already be done with their school shopping. Nonetheless, school supply shopping doesn’t have to come with stress if parents are proactive in taking advantage of store sales and following some easy, frugal tips.
- Before you even leave the house, make sure you obtain your official supply list from your school. Some schools have the supply lists posted on their their websites to download and print off. Having a list will help avoid impulse buying and keep kids from begging for any unnecessary, “Mom-I-really-really-need-this!” item.
- Once you have that list, take stock in what you already have at home. Do a quick once over in your junk drawers, under the beds, and closets to see what amazing treasures await, i.e., 3 extra pairs of scissors, runaway glue sticks, unopened box of crayons. After you have whittled your list for the store, stick to it!
- Call all grandparents, aunts, and uncles! Family members may want to help celebrate your child’s first day of kindergarten or preschool. Items on the school supply list that could make neat “gifts” to commemorate the 1st day of school.
- End of July and early August are the best times to start scouting prices before you buy. Compare prices with different stores and keep track of where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. To save yourself driving all over town, call stores ahead of time to see if they price match. By price matching, you can gather numerous store flyers and ensure that you’ll get the same price wherever you go.
- Get in the habit of asking about return policies with bigger stores. Sometimes spending the extra money for a nice backpack with a lifetime warranty is a better deal than buying a cheaper bag that will eventually break within 6 months with a 90 day return policy. Save those receipts!
- “Second hand” can still be called brand new. Parents can find a lot of good quality clothes at consignment stores, garage sales, craigslist, and/or Goodwill. It will take some “hunting” through racks but with some patience and good eyes, there are lots of gently used, name brand clothing needing a new home.
- Another way to acquire “nearly new” clothes is to gather a group of other parents and have a clean-out-the-closet-clothing swap. Not only will you purge your closets of clothes you don’t need but you’ll come back home with items to replenish.
The Parenting Hub would love to hear any tips you have for making back-to-school shopping fun and cost effective. Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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