This is a guest post written by Nikki Schraiber :
5 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Items
Aside from Christmas, the summer months of July and August represent the biggest shopping period of the year. That’s because parents are flocking to malls, department stores and discount retailers to get clothes and supplies for the upcoming school year.
There’s no doubt back-to-school shopping is big business. Americans will spend billions on things their students, but it will be painful on their pocketbooks. Here are some fun facts to consider:
- In 2012, families with kids in grades K-12 spent $690 per child on back-to-school items.
- An overwhelming majority of parents – 77 percent, in fact – said the economy impacted their ability to buy school supplies and clothes.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Creative parents can find ways to save money on school supplies and clothes. Use this list to keep you from shelling out so much cash this summer.
Host a clothing swap
You have kids and it’s highly likely your friends do, too. Whip up some snacks, pour some tasty beverages and proceed with a clothing swap. Ask your friends to bring gently used clothes their kids have outgrown and swap them with other parents who need those sizes. If you really want to get industrious, try hosting a kids clothing swap via Meetup.com. With any luck, the swap will become an annual event that friends and neighbors look forward to attending.
Surveys indicate just over a third of Americans will use coupons to help defray the cost of back-to-school shopping. Coupons are so easy to use, it seems more people would take advantage of them. They’re basically free money! Macy’s, Sears and Kohls coupons are especially helpful because you can use them for clothing and shoes or gear like backpacks, lunch bags and purses. Additionally, many online retailers offer free shipping when you spend a certain dollar amount. Combining these specials offers with a coupon code will help you save even more.
Seek deals online
Price comparison sites like Pricegrabber or Fatwallet identify the best online deal on high-dollar items like calculators, tablets and laptops. You can also use these sites to help find great deals on office supplies, apparel and accessories, too.
Consider using private sale sites like Zulily, Totsy or Rue La la where members receive deals on clothing and other kid-related items. There’s no fee to join – you just have to hand over your email address. Thredup.com is another site where you can find great prices on kids’ pre-owned, name-brand clothing. They’ll also buy your kids’ clothes – as long as they’re in good condition – and give you 40 percent of the resale value in cash.
Buy in bulk
It goes without saying that you save money when you buy in bulk. You may end up spending a little more on the front end by buying a box of 100 pencils at Costco, but it’ll last throughout the school year and hopefully beyond.
Don’t duplicate efforts. If your child has a lunch bag that’s in good condition, there’s no need to buy another one. Just make sure you buy items that are generic enough to last from year-to-year. That way, your kid can’t suddenly decide Batman isn’t cool anymore and demand a new lunch box. Same goes for backpacks. Unless it’s worn out or too small, don’t spend money on unnecessary items just because a new school year is beginning.
Also, many states including Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana have sales tax holidays just before the school year starts. Wait until these occur before making purchases, especially if you plan to buy a computer or tablet. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars by doing so.
About the author: Nikki Schraiber enjoys sharing tips on how to save money and live frugally. She believes in never paying full price on anything except for maybe her produce.