It seems like back to school lists keep getting bigger and bigger these days, even though our back to school budgets are getting smaller and smaller. But have no fear! I’m here to help you maximize your money for back to school time. And even those of you who don’t have kids (or have moved beyond the back to school years) will find great money-saving tips that you can take advantage of too, so listen up!
Back to School Budget Tips
* Keep an eye on office supply & drugstores over the coming weeks for Penny/Extreme deals
Office supply stores (like Staples, Office Max & Office Depot) will be competing for your business by offering a lot of freebies and penny deals, so this is when you want to stock up for your back to school list or even home office supplies.
* Shop online to save time & gas
…and save even more money when you use promo codes and go through sites like Ebates & Savings.com to get cash back on your purchases and take advantage of special coupon codes!
* Pay attention to quality/lifetime guarantees
You may pay a little more for things like pants, shoes & backpacks up front, but you’ll find you won’t have to spend unnecessary funds replacing such necessary items halfway through the school year. We love Lands End for those quality items, but you will even see the quality difference in markers and other school supplies from brands like Faber-Castell.
* Ask the school if you can send school supplies in stages throughout the year
If your back to school budget is tight now, this can be a great solution. You could also offer to buy a multi-pack of one item (like colored pencils) that will cover the entire class while giving you a discount on bulk pricing and ultimately cost you less than if you had to buy individual school supplies for your child. You can find great multi-packs like this (and ALL school supplies) at a great discount on SchoolSpecialty.com.
* Homeschoolers are teachers too!
Don’t forget to ask for educator discounts if you’re a homeschooler. You’ll find discount cards everywhere from craft to computer stores. Even clothing retailers offer an extra percentage off for teachers.
Don’t forget that in Tennessee, this weekend is our Tax Free Weekend (it typically happens the last weekend of July/first weekend of August). That means that eligible clothing and school supply purchases $100 or less, as well as computers $1500 or less, are all tax-free. You can see if your state is one of the sixteen states participating in tax-free back to school too.
Back to School Shopping: Where to Save vs. Where to Splurge
Even if you don’t have kids in school, anyone can save on clothing, supplies and even electronics! This is also a great time to make your donation dollar stretch further, especially when stocking up on items for Operation Christmas Child.
By using the tips I mentioned, families can easily save enough money to buy extra supplies for OCC shoebox gifts. More information on how you can live better AND give back is available at FamilyMoneyMinute.com.
Did you LOVE the School Supply Cake I made for my Talk of the Town segment?
Watch my other Talk of the Town segments to find more great tips!