Few parents enjoy back-to-school shopping, and many feel a sense of stress and even dread as the time approaches. The lists seem to get longer each year, and the costs get higher. And with this comes knowing that at some point, your kid will lose or use up some of those supplies, meaning you’ll have to replenish them.
Fortunately, there are some pretty easy ways to find savings when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Here are 5 that can really make a difference.
1. Search the House and Car for Coins
All the time, we leave change behind in our homes and cars and forget all about it. We set it on counters, drop it into cup holders, unknowingly let it slip from pockets and into couch cushions, etc.
Go on coin patrol and see what you find; you might be surprised. And maybe you don’t want to be that person paying all in coins at the counter, but you can take them to a bank, credit union, or something like a Coinstar kiosk and turn them into cash.
2. Reuse Last Year’s Supplies
Some supplies end up never being used and often get thrown away at the end of the school year. If they’re still in usable condition, there’s no reason not to save them in case they appear on the new school supplies lists. The same goes for things like backpacks; unless your kid outgrows one, there’s no need to replace it every year.
3. Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekends
A lot of states hold tax-free weekends where school supplies and some other items are exempt from state sales taxes. Shopping on those weekends can save you a lot of money. It’s also not a bad idea to use those occasions to stock up on things like pencils and notebooks that you know you’ll have to buy again next year (when they might cost more).
4. Look for Coupons and Sales
The management teams at stores know that parents have to buy back-to-school supplies, but they also know there’s competition. Because of that, stores often offer coupons, sales, or other promotions at certain times to get your business. Keep an eye out for these things since they often don’t last long.
5. Pick the Right Time
Timing can be crucial. You’re more likely to find better prices earlier in the summer because demand is lower. If you wait until the last minute, stores are unlikely to put things on sale and may even raise prices because they know you need those items. Waiting until right before school starts can also often land you in a position no parent relishes: finding out that some items on the list are sold out.
You can’t avoid spending money when back-to-school season comes along, but you can make it less painful. If you follow the tips above and any other good ones you pick up on, you can save a lot of money. Over the years, and especially if you have more than one kid, that can really add up.
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