The beginning of the school year can be an extremely stressful time for both kids and parents. The new school year means that kids will have to worry about new teachers, a new classroom and oftentimes new peers. Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over these factors. However, you can make sure that your children are well-equipped to take on the new school year without breaking your bank account.
Your kids will probably be concerned with having the “cool” items. Wasn’t life simpler when you wouldn’t be pegged as a weirdo because you took notes in a plain red binder? Teachers have also started to become much pickier about what supplies they want their students to have.
Here are some things you can keep in mind to help you save money during back to school shopping.
Do Your Shopping in Advance
You can take advantage of the best deals when you plan ahead. My mother often bought Christmas gifts the previous January when she was able to take advantage of the best clearance sales from the previous holiday season. You can follow the same principles to save money during the back to school season.
Here are some of the things you can keep in mind when you are shopping for new school supplies:
· Ask the school for a list of supplies that you will need for the beginning of the year. Many schools offer syllabuses online to help you.
· Figure out what your kids are going to need a couple years from now. Many of these lists don’t change much from year to year and you can plan on buying them when they are on sale.
Planning your back to school shopping is the most important way to save money.
Don’t Always Look for Deals Online
Online retailers have large economies of scale and efficient distribution channels. Therefore, many people expect they will save a substantial amount of money by making bulk purchases through ecommerce sites. A number of specialty stores provide a quality experience that can help you save money on specific items.
However, you aren’t always going to save money by going the online route. According to a study by a firm that specializes in customer ratings, you will usually pay more for a product over the Internet.
You can often find some great deals online and you can take advantage of some specialty online retailers. However, you should be careful to make sure that you don’t limit yourself to a channel that could cost you more in the long-run.
At the same time, you should factor in travel costs as well. You may find that the cost of gas will make shopping online more economical if your nearest store is half an hour away.
See What Your Child Already Has on Hand
Many parents routinely buy the same things for their kid every year. Make sure you know what your child already has on hand and only replace what you need to. Last year’s rulers and binders should do the job just fine if they are still in good condition. Your child probably still has a lot of pens on hand, so you may not need to make a point of buying new ones.
Buy in Bulk and Take Advantage of Sales
Almost every list of ways to save money on any purchase puts these factors at the top. I wanted to cover some points you may not have heard of yet, but these factors definitely can’t be ignored. Many retailers give you a ton of ways to save money on purchases by buying in bulk. You also don’t want to overlook some of the great back to school sales that may be available.
Preparing your child to go back to school doesn’t have to be expensive. Follow these principles and you won’t have to pay as much money when the new school year starts.
Kalen Smith is a personal finance writer. He also writes about promotional pens from ThePenGuy.com.