According to the National Retail Federation study for 2019, parents with children in elementary school through high school are expected to spend a whopping $696.70 per child for school-related necessities.
Breaking down the school supplies portion, they estimate $117.49 of that will used for purchasing supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes.
As a parent, you want to make sure your kids have all the essentials. But it is easy to let your good intentions result in expenses that get out of hand.
However, there are things you can do to minimize the cost of back to school supplies.
This school year, save your family some money by following these seven tips.
1. Get your list from your school, and stick to it!
Your school's posted supply list will contain all the items your child needs for school. While your kids may have other thoughts, and want additional supplies, do not let them sway you into buying them.
Instead, get them involved in actually picking out the items that are needed. If they want anything additional, let them use the money they may have earned doing chores. Offering that solution will likely make them reconsider what they actually need.
- Check your school's website for a downloadable version of the list. If you cannot find it, contact the school to see if they can provide you with the supply list for the upcoming school year.
- If for some reason a list was not given out before the first day of school, be patient. There is no reason to get carried away and purchase a bunch of items your child may never need. Just wait for the list, and who knows by that time they may be on sale!
2. Check the house for items left over from previous years.
Before you purchase any supplies, look around the house. You may find that there are several items you can reuse. Check your child's book bag from last year, or your supply closet. Look for things like pencils, pens, notebook paper, unused notebooks, and any other school items.
- Some items like pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, and scissors can be used another year if they are still in good shape.
3. Shop around for the best deals.
Now if you short on time and have to pick one store, Walmart is usually a good bet. However, do not automatically assume the large super-stores have the best prices on all school supplies. You should also consider Dollar Stores, grocery stores, and drug stores for special school supply promos.
- Now I am not recommending that you spend your time running around town to individual stores. But if you start early, you may be able to take advantage of special promotions from stores near you that you frequently visit. You may be able to pick up some deals while doing your other shopping.
4. Watch for the sales in August.
As the beginning of the school year approaches, keep an eye out for back to school sales. Some of the office stores like Staples and Office Depot run some pretty aggressive sales on specific school items to lure in customers. Be smart and take advantage of the sale items, and pass on the more expensive items that you can purchase for lower prices elsewhere.
5. Save additional money with CashBack Apps
If you are shopping for larger ticket items like book bags, you may find better deals online. Be sure to use cashback apps like Rakuten and Ibotta to maximize savings when shopping online. You can also use these apps to get cashback on other back to school items like clothes and laptops.
6. See if your state participates, shop on Sales Tax Holiday.
Many states have tax-free holidays for clothing and school supplies in August right before the school year. If so combine coupon savings, cashback apps, and tax-free purchases for maximum savings.
7. Team up with another parent and buy in bulk.
Does your local Costco or Sams Club have a good deal on a large box of paper or pencils? Join up with a few other parents, and divvy up the supplies. It's an excellent way to network with other parents and save money!
Getting ready to go back to school is an exciting time. Kids are eager to see their friends again, but parents may be feeling a little financial pressure from having to get ready for school right after that summer beach trip.
But remember, getting your kids ready for school does not have to break your budget. Get your supply list early, stick to it, and focus on the tips in this article. Hopefully, you will find these tips save you a bundle this year!
Do you have any tips you would like to add? Please leave a comment below.