Back to school time is just around the corner and while that does mean that the kids will have somewhere to go during the day (no more trying to figure out what to do with them every Tuesday), it also means that sooner than later you’re going to need to buy school supplies for the school year and that can get expensive. Luckily there are a number of ways to save on back to school shopping, and if you’re looking for savings, you’re in the right place! Here are 5 handy tips for getting all the school supplies your kids need without punishing your wallet (too much).
1. Make a List
List making is the first thing you want to do when you need to budget for any expense, and back to school supplies are no exception. Put together a list of the things that you know you’re going to need to buy and stick by that list. Be sure to make your list clear and concise, and check things off right after you’ve gotten them. It’s easy to forget that you already grabbed something and end up accidentally buying it twice!
2. Shop Smart
While it can be convenient to just buy everything online, or run to the nearest superstore and buy everything there in one go, if you want to actually save on school supplies you’ll want to be a conscious shopper. What does that mean? It starts with weighing all of your options. Compare prices from different retailers and see which offers the best bang for your buck. Some retailers even offer price matching, so if you can find a cheaper price, you might be able to get the best price without going out of your geographic comfort zone or having to wait on shipping from online stores.
Keep your eyes peeled for sales catered specifically for this time of year: lots of retailers will offer discounts and BOGO deals that can really cut down on cost. Also, don’t be afraid of the dollar store! There’s a decent chance that you’ll have a hard time beating the prices a dollar store offers, but it’s still worth looking around and seeing what you can find.
3. Dig Around the House
Before you decide to buy all new school supplies, look around to make sure you don’t already have some of those products tucked away in the nooks and crannies of your home! It’s easy to forget that you actually bought a hundred pencils or a bunch of notebooks last year and then tucked them away, certain that you would always remember those extra school supplies you put in a basement closet 12 months ago. It doesn’t hurt to check, just in case.
4. Take Advantage of the Secondary Market
Yard/garage sales and thrift stores are great places to poke around for some of the basics your kids need for the school year and you can usually nab things at a fraction of the price. Be on the lookout for yard sales in your neighborhood or nearby neighborhoods, and be sure to pop into the nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill and give them a solid search before you decide to shop elsewhere. You might be surprised by what you can find!
5. Buy Quality...Sometimes
While school supplies that are short-lived in nature, like notebooks, pens, and pencils are definitely smart to buy cheap, for items that you want for the long-term it’s better to buy quality products. Things like backpacks, binders, pencil cases, and even new clothes are smart to buy with longevity in mind. While what you initially spend will be more, the ability to keep re-using them for years down the road will end up saving you money in the long term. It makes more sense to buy a 50 dollar backpack that lasts 5-6 years than it does to buy a lower-quality 15 dollar backpack every year.
If you follow some (or all) of these tips for school savings this year, you’re going to need somewhere to tuck some of that money away! HRCCU offers a number of different savings accounts options that can protect your money while also accruing solid APY. If you don’t already have one of our savings accounts, getting one before you do your school shopping will give you a readymade place to put some of that extra money. Then you can save it for a rainy day.