11 tips for saving on back-to-school expenses

Are you feeling the back to school crunch? You don’t have to spend a lot to get all you need for back to school time. I’ve created a list with 11 helpful tips getting you cool for school for less.

Before we know it will be time to send the kids back to school; and as we all know preparing for back to school needs can be expensive. However; preparing for back to school doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune if you stick by these helpful tips.

1. Shop Back-To-School Tax Free Weekends

Shopping in these states means when you make a purchase on like clothing, shoes, school supplies and in some states electronics up to a certain value you won’t be required to pay tax. To find out what your state requirement for a tax free weekend please visit the your state taxation website for more information.

2. Buy used clothing

Kids grow fast and by the end of the summer they are already outgrowing their old clothes and if you have the added expense of uniforms that can be even more expensive. So check out sites like ebay, Craigslist for used clothing. If you’re involved with local garage sale sites check them out too; don’t forget that summertime is the perfect time to shop garage and yard sales and score big on gently used or even new kids clothing.

3. Shop sales and price match whenever possible

Mid July is when all the back to school sales seem to start and you can pick up many needed items like; crayons, pencils, pens, erasers, and glue sticks for super cheap. Stores like Office Depot/Max, and Staples often items have supplies for as low as 1 cent. This also makes a great time to stock up on extras you may need throughout the year so you won’t have to pay twice the amount mid year. If you don’t have a office supply store close enough by but is under 50 miles you can always price match at Walmart to avoid an added trip.

4. Pick up extras throughout regular shopping trips and stock up

Stock up on extras for the upcoming years by shopping the sales and picking up a few items each time. This will help you gather a nice supply stock pile and soon enough you’ll be able to “shop from home” for back to school supplies. I’m always picking up extras throughout these times to save on supplies.

5. Use coupons whenever possible

A lot of times you can find coupons on back to school needs via printable coupon websites, Facebook or even manufacturer’s websites. Use these in conjunction with offers that may be found on Target’s Cartwheel, or store websites.

6. Buy in bulk

If you have a membership to an wholesale club or can share a ride with someone who does you can save big on commonly used items. You can pick up almost 100 pencils for less than $7, 12 erasers for less than $8 and so much for for great prices. Bulk prices would be great for items that teachers request for their classrooms like disinfecting wipes, facial tissues and other items to keep more money in their pockets (and yes teachers buy these items out of their own pockets)

7. Re-use old supplies

Re-using old school supplies can help cut down or eliminate supply costs; you can always re-use dry erase markers, scissors and erasers. You don’t have to send your child to school with “brand new” supplies, sometimes the teachers just throw them all together in a container anyways.

8. Stick to the list

You don’t “have” to buy all the extras that the teacher is “requiring” if you can’t afford it. While it’s always great to help out the teacher when needed if you just can’t afford 5 boxes of facial tissue don’t worry the teacher will understand. Buy what the kids needs and nothing more; don’t forget backpacks and lunchboxes and again reuse anything you can whenever possible.

9. Shop season ends sales

Stock up on staples kids need like t-shirts, pants, etc that they will wear year round. If you live in a warmer climate this would be great for stocking up on shorts and sleeveless shirts as they are worn throughout the year in some cases.

10. Invest in a re-usable lunch system

Those plastic reusable containers and lunchbox fitting containers are perfect for packing cold lunches. Not only will you save money on buying expensive plastic baggies that will just get thrown in the trash, you are also doing good by the Earth too by reusing paper/plastic waste. Don’t forget those small ice packs too; they help keep your child’s lunch cold; no more yucky warm sandwiches.

11. Host a back-to-school swap

Chances are you know other moms with children in the same age range as yours. If you have a lot of children in your neighborhood talk to the other moms ans see if they would be interested in having a swap. This help moms “get rid” of clothing and other items their children don’t use and to get something their children can use too. This is an excellent way to save money, get the children together and boost neighborhood interaction. See this post for helpful tips in hosting a back-to-school swap.

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