Back-to-school shopping could cost families a record amount this year. Here’s how to save.
As summer comes to a close and the start of the school year approaches, families around the country are gearing up for the annual tradition of back-to-school shopping. However, parents may be in for a shock this year, as the cost of supplies and clothing is expected to reach a record high. According to the National Retail Federation, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend nearly $850 on back-to-school shopping in 2021. This staggering amount can put a strain on many households, but with some strategic planning and money-saving tips, it is possible to navigate this costly endeavor without breaking the bank.
1. Start with a budget
The first step to saving money on back-to-school shopping is setting a budget. Take a look at your finances and determine how much you can comfortably spend on supplies and clothing. Consider the number of children you have and the items they need. By having a clear budget in mind, you can prioritize your spending and avoid unnecessary purchases.
2. Take inventory before you shop
Before heading to the stores, take inventory of what you already have at home. Check your children’s closets for clothing that still fits and gather any leftover supplies from the previous school year. This way, you can avoid buying duplicates and focus on the items that are truly needed. Reusing items from the previous year can save a significant amount of money.
3. Research deals and discounts
With the rise of online shopping, there are countless deals and discounts available to savvy shoppers. Take advantage of price comparison websites and online coupons to find the best deals on school supplies, backpacks, and clothing. Many retailers also offer special promotions during the back-to-school season, so keep an eye out for those as well. By doing your research, you can ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
4. Shop tax-free weekends
Many states offer tax-free weekends during the back-to-school shopping season, where certain items are exempt from sales tax. Take advantage of these weekends to maximize your savings. Do some research to find out if your state participates in this program and plan your shopping accordingly. Shopping during tax-free weekends can result in substantial savings, especially on big-ticket items like laptops and electronics.
5. Buy in bulk
When it comes to school supplies, buying in bulk can be a smart financial move. Look for bulk packages of pens, pencils, notebooks, and other essentials. Not only are these items often cheaper per unit, but they will also last your children throughout the school year. Splitting the cost with other parents or buying supplies for multiple children in one go can further increase your savings.
6. Consider second-hand options
While brand new clothes and supplies may be enticing, consider second-hand options to save money. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces offer a wide range of gently used clothing and school supplies at a fraction of the cost. Give these pre-loved items a chance, as they can be just as functional and stylish as new ones. Being open to second-hand options can significantly reduce your back-to-school shopping expenses.
Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. By setting a budget, taking inventory, researching deals, shopping during tax-free weekends, buying in bulk, and considering second-hand options, families can save a significant amount of money on this yearly expense. Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but rather how wisely you spend it. With a little planning and resourcefulness, you can outfit your children for the school year without blowing your budget.