It's the time of year when parents flock to stores, preparing their students for the coming school year. Here are some ideas that could save you money on your back to school shopping:
School Supplies - The best place to start shopping is at "home sweet home." Grab a box and head to your junk drawer. You'll most likely find a treasure trove of supplies like pencils, pens, calculators, and note pads that will turn your clutter into cash. Also, locate those free pencils and pens that businesses hand out as promotional items.
You can't beat Sunday newspaper ads for the cheapest price on basic supplies, as we draw closer to school starting. Remember, stores like Wal-Mart and Target price match their competitor prices, for the exact same item. Be sure to bring in the competitors ads.
Bring your child's school list and stick to it! The "add-ons" will start adding up quickly. In fact, you might want to leave your kids at home while you shop. They will be tempted by cool gadgets not on your list, and the lean more toward the more expensive supplies with images of cartoon characters than their less expensive, unbranded counterparts. If your students want the more expensive items, let them make up the difference with their money.
You might put off buying bigger items like backpacks and lunch boxes for a couple of months, when they go on clearance. You'll most likely pay a fraction of the cost.
Clothes - Start by taking an inventory of your child's closet, and figure out what they absolutely need right now. Hold off on buying the latest fashions right away because they also will go on clearance, and they also make great Christmas presents. A light sweater over summer clothes might get you through the first cold snap. Your closet inventory might also be a great time to do some organizing. Sell outgrown or unused clothes at a consignment shop, host a clothes swap party with their friends, and save clothes for younger siblings. If there's a high dollar outfit they really want, be sure to check out E-Bay.com and Craigslist.com.
Lunches - Watch your grocery and retail store advertisements closely. Buy it cheap, buy in bulk, and buy it year round. Remember, Sunday newspapers aren't the only source of coupons. Many grocery and retail stores offer printable coupons on their websites.
Follow these tips and teach your budget a lesson that they don't teach in school.