Though it seems like summer has just started, it is not too soon to begin thinking about back-to-school shopping. Beginning this task early will ensure that you are able to get organized, take advantage of coupons and sales and will allow you to spread out your spending through the summer. We have detailed some fantastic money-saving tips to help you spend less and get more for your money.
The number one problem with overspending on school supplies is lack of organization. Have you ever gone to the grocery store on an empty stomach only to come home with more than you intended? It works the same with back-to-school shopping. Before you head to the store, take a detailed inventory of any items from last year that will work for this year. Have your kids sort through their clothes and shoes and determine the essentials needed to begin the year.
Make a List
Now that you are organized, make a list and stick to it! Most schools offer detailed supply lists of required items. In addition to these supplies, your child will need a good backpack, lunch box and tennis shoes. Check your inventory of items from step one and cross off anything that you already own. Remember that the school supply list is a starting point for your child. Depending on his age and classes, he might require a graphing calculator, PE clothing, or a specialty item for an elective class. Add all of these items to your list.
Determine Your Budget
Back-to-school shopping can be quite expensive, so it is necessary to determine your budget before you purchase even one pencil. Prioritize your list and estimate the cost of all of the supplies. If the cost of the supplies is greater than your budget, you will be able to purchase top-priority items first. Often supply lists include supplies used throughout the entire school year. Since some of them will be used later in the year, you will be able to delay those purchases until necessary.
Shop the Sales
Beginning as early as July, major retailers begin their back-to-school sales. In fact, some of the best deals happen when most people have not even begun to think about school shopping. Start planning early and watch the weekly ads in your area. You will be amazed at how much you will be able to save.
Combine Coupons with Sales
One of the great things about coupons is that they are valid even during a store sale. Historically, manufacturers produce coupons for common school supplies throughout the summer. Print them off or cut them from your local newspaper and then hang on to them. When you locate a great sale, use your coupons at the same time. This can save you hundreds of dollars, depending on what supplies are required for your child.
Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend
Many states offer a tax-free weekend or tax-free shopping days specifically for back-to-school shopping. The special often includes school supplies like pens, pencils and paper and likely also includes clothes. Additionally, most retailers will schedule store sales, coupons and other incentives during this tax-free time. If your state allows, this is a great time to purchase big-ticket items like computers and textbooks.
Let’s be honest… most people do not want to think about back-to-school shopping during summer. However, those months will go by much faster than you think. Start early and plan your schedule for the summer. You might even be done when others are just starting!
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