All across the nation, many parents are contemplating the same thing: back-to-school shopping. Given the pens, paper, electronics, shoes, clothes, backpacks, books, and other items that students need, this task can easily become overwhelming, both mentally and financially. However, with careful planning, you can get the required supplies without breaking the bank. Below are some tips you can use to get top marks on back-to-school shopping.
- Make a plan: Walking into a store and looking at all of the supplies your child could may is mind-boggling. To ensure you buy what you actually need that is within your budget, make a list of what you need and what you are willing to spend. It is a simple technique that helps prevent you from too many items at too high of a price.
- Home sweet home: Did you use up all of last year’s supplies, or do you have some left over? By checking closets, desk drawers, and storage bins, you may find you already have some of the supplies that are on your list, thereby saving money before you even leave the house.
- Twice as nice: No one says you have to buy everything new. For students going away to college, you can save money by shopping for household items, such as lamps, desks, cookware, and tables, at garage sales and searching through online classifieds such as PostedAd.ca or check the list of top 5 classifieds websites in Canada. Students can also save money by purchasing used textbooks.
- The search is on: Some items, such as paper and pens, have to be purchased new. You can find great deals on school supplies through newspaper flyers, shopping on tax-free weekends, and buying bulk. For online shoppers, look for discounts, promo codes, printable online coupons, and free shipping. When possible, combine price matching with store coupons to enjoy even bigger savings.
- Shop around and be patient: Completing your shopping as quickly as possible by visiting a single store is understandable, but it can also be expensive. Why is this? Stores will often have some items on sale to draw in shoppers, but you will end up paying full price for the rest of the items on your list. To avoid this, start back-to-school shopping early, watch for deals as they occur, and purchase the items on your list only when the price is within your budget.
- Stick to your guns: Often, stores package items in bulk to offer volume savings. But buying more than you need is no longer a deal – it merely becomes excess that you need to store. Stick to your list so that you don’t buy too much or exceed your budget.
- Going solo: Getting your children involved in the shopping process is good in theory, but depending on the age of your child, it can be a direct route to exceeding your budget. Instead, take them along to purchase more personal items, such as a backpack, and leave them at home when buying less exciting items, such as pens and paper.
- Wait before purchasing the non-essentials: If you can hold off buying certain items until school has started, you will be able to find better deals as businesses try to clear out school supplies to make room for upcoming holiday sales.
Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. When you take your time and understand what is needed, you can make sure that your children get the supplies they need at prices you will love.
The Summer is not over yet, check our article on how to get the most fun with your kids before the school starts.