Smart Back to School Shopping
It’s one of the biggest “family shopping” events of the year, but not necessarily one you look forward to. Try these following strategies to make this year’s back to school shopping expedition easier on you and your wallet!
Set up a school fund or savings plan and put money aside all year round. Families on average can spend in excess of $500 at this time of the year. Creating this fund would help discipline parents and avoid overspending.
Make a List
Have your kids make a list of all the items they’ll require for the school year, then set a budget for each item. This helps you get organized, plus it will make your kids more cost-conscious. Have them re-evaluate their list to see if there are items they can live without.
Inventory the Clothing
The clothing purchase is probably what causes the most conflicts and frustrations. Have the kids try on all their clothes to determine what still fits. Then make a list of what they need.
For younger kids (you’ll only get away with this at this age) – Buy at the end of the season for next year; one size bigger. Consider purchasing at quality gently-used stores. You can pick up great designer labels. Your kids won’t notice the difference.
For middle school kids – Shop together and stick to the necessities. Allow one trendy outfit but everything else should be about what your child needs. Try to make compromises so your child doesn’t feel like you are saying ‘no’ to everything.
For older kids – Set a budget and let them purchase their own, with the understanding that they must stick to their list. Anything beyond the budget must come out of their allowance.
Look for Bulk Deals
School supplies don’t go out of style so if there’s an opportunity to buy in larger quantities to save, do it. You’ll likely need extra supplies throughout the school year anyway.
If you’re looking for sports equipment, classified websites, eBay, or sports resale stores are an obvious choice. Kids outgrow sports equipment so quickly that it’s not worth the investment. Or, trade the equipment that is languishing in your closet with another family or member of your sports club.
Remember to get an early start to your shopping. You always end up spending more when you wait until the last minute!