You’ve asked for it and here it is, your essential Back to School Deals: Save vs. Splurge List!
Of course, when it comes to Back to School, you want to save money wherever possible, but there are certain instances where spending a little more up front will actually save you a lot of money in the long run. Here are my 3 favorite examples of just that:
Essential Back to School Deals: Save vs. Splurge List
1. SAVE: Water Bottles vs. SPLURGE: Backpack
Save: If you have young school aged children, you know that they go through a ton of water each day…but those water bottles often get left on the playground, in someone else’s car, or at an after school activity. You may want to buy your kids the best water bottle, but most today are BPA free and unless you plan on replacing them regularly, this is money down the drain.
Splurge: Instead, spend your money on a high quality backpack from a company that has a tried & true, no-fuss customer service/return policy where you can return the item at any time you’re not satisfied for a full refund of the purchase price (like the Lands End quality guarantee). I understand keeping a backpack for more than a year can be harder with young kids who want to sport their favorite superhero on their backs (and that changes each year), but you’ll spend your money much more effectively if you can convince them to go this way (plus you can still find fun patterns and colors). There’s nothing worse than being the kid who’s backpack strap breaks as you’re walking down the school hallways!
2. SAVE: Uniforms vs. SPLURGE: Shoes
Save: There is nothing more expensive than school uniforms and clothes, whether we’re talking private school or simply adhering to public school dress code. When you consider how quickly kids grow, how rough they are on their clothes and how quickly uniform standards can change, you’re going to be much better off shopping at a consignment sale, asking for hand me downs or simply buying fewer options and wearing them until they literally fall apart! Chances are by that time, you’ll need to change sizes or styles anyway 😉
Splurge: While some may argue the same principle above for shoes, I would beg to differ. I’ve tried doing the hand-me-down & consignment shoe route, but when it comes to school, kids are usually wearing the same one or two pairs EVERY DAY! When you consider that this is the primary source of protection between your kids bones and the ground, this is an area you’ll want to invest a little more in. By the time you get a used shoe, they’re typically very worn out and not very effective in terms of support and protection, so do your kids a favor and invest in a good quality pair of shoes (like Stride Rite) at the beginning of the school year.
3. SAVE: Calculators vs. SPLURGE: Computer
Save: This tip pertains especially to those of you with students in junior high and beyond. Unless you have the next Albert Einstein on your hands (and you can ignore this tip if you do!), you won’t need the latest and greatest scientific calculator or other tech tools that are required for certain other higher level classes past the actual class they’re required for. Instead, ask parents of students the year above your student if you can buy these items from them at a discount. The same principle applies for textbooks too! Another great place to check is Craig’s List or a local Facebook Buy/Sell page that some towns have.
Splurge: I used to be in the ‘Buy the cheapest computer you can’ camp. Since technology changes so quickly, I figured by the time my computer crashed, it would be time to upgrade anyway. However, after recently living through two crashes, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s worth a few hundred dollars more up front to have the upgraded storage & processing power to avoid frequent heartache. This is especially true if you’re sending your kids off to college and won’t be physically present to fix the glitches (or be a shoulder to cry on when your student loses their term paper due to a hard drive failure!). Plus don’t forget that many companies offer student discounts, so always ask for one before you buy (even the Apple store)!
What are your best save vs. splurge back to school tips?