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As we reach the end of the second week in August, summer has flown by! We know it seems a little too early to mention the ‘S’ word but September is only a short three weeks away so that means it’s almost time for back-to-school shopping! No matter how many children you have, this time of year is never cheap. Here are some tips on how to shop for all those back-to-school essentials on a budget.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We all know that at the end of the school year, it’s tempting to toss everything in the garbage and start fresh come next September. Who really needs a few pencil crayons, half-empty notebooks and partial glue sticks anyways? As satisfying as it is to get rid of everything, try saving it for the following year. This will not only save money, but it will also save you the time of replacing everything rather than using what you had left. Perhaps you don’t have enough pencil crayons for a full set; make a drawer at home with partially used school supplies so that maybe one year there will be enough for a complete set.
Stick to the Essentials
Remember how exciting back-to-school shopping was as a kid? Getting that fresh new marker set and labelling all our supplies was like Christmas in September. In order to stick to your budget, let your kids pick out only the essentials a few weeks early and go home. This allows them time to think about what they really need and perhaps they will be ok with the 24-pack of crayon instead of the 64-pack.
Back-to-school is a competitive time for stores, all of whom want your business. If you have the storage space, stock up on things you know you will need for years to come: loose-leaf paper, notebooks, pens, erasers. All of these things are cheaper when bought in bulk, so why not save yourself another trip to the store and buy it now? Great places to buy cheap school supplies are Walmart, Superstore and even Staples when they have back-to-school sales.
Save, Save, Save
You know this time comes around every year, and it’s only going to get more expensive the older your kids to get, as they’ll need a calculator, a geometry set, new gym shoes – the list goes on. After this year’s haul, calculate how much money you spent on supplies, so you know approximately how much to save for next year. Let’s say you put away $50/month for next year’s school supplies. That’s $600 that you can put towards all the essentials and then maybe even a new backpack or first-day-back outfit with the money remaining. Better to be overprepared than underprepared, right?
Back-to-school shopping is always fun for the kids, but it can be hard on the bank account. Try sticking to these four main points this shopping trip and see how you do – you might be surprised at the savings.