It’s that time of year already – kids are going back to school, and parents are preparing to spend more than they bargained for on school supplies. Whether its new clothes, books, utensils, or art supplies – there’s always a way to save money. Through my research, I have come up with 5 tips to help you become a pro back to school shopper this year!
- Do a sweep of the supplies you currently have on hand.
You might actually have plenty of school supplies scattered around your house. Check your closets, drawers, and even your basement for:
- Pens, pencils, markers, highlighters
- Art supplies
- Post-it notes
- Visit a few garage sales and thrift stores first.
Believe it or not – Garage sales can be a gold mine for the back to school supplies you’re in need of. Gently used items like backpacks, clothing, and even some notebooks can be purchased for just a few dollars.
It takes time to scope out “good” garage sales, so make sure that you check your local newspaper for a listing, and even ask friends and family to keep an eye out for you.
- Go to the Dollar Store.
There, you will find a slew of back to school goodies ranging from notebooks, pencils, pens, paper, and even art supplies. Remember: there’s nothing wrong with buying generic-brand school supplies, especially if it means spending $1 on a binder rather than $8.
- Set a limit.
Kids almost always insist on having the “latest and greatest” of pretty much everything – that includes back to school supplies.
It’s important to set limits with your kids, and speak to them about the value of a dollar. You can show them the difference between a cheaply made “stylish” item of clothing, and a well-made item without a logo – they’ll come to find out that a logo doesn’t always mean the best quality.
Some parents have chosen to reward their kids with 2 “specialty” items, like a named brand shirt or a lunch box with their favorite celebrity on it, with the rest of the school supplies purchased at bargain prices.
- Put them to work.
What do you do when you’ve set limits for purchasing expensive items, and your kids still beg for high-end back to school supplies? Make them work for it.
Assign your kids chores, or help them find an odd job that can help them to earn the money for these items. A summer lawn-mowing job is a great way for your kids to earn some extra cash from your friends and neighbors.