The start of the school year is an exciting time for you and your little ones, but not always so much for your budget. Taking the time to plan, research, and go the extra mile to find deals can have a big impact on how much you spend on back-to-school shopping. The tips below can help you zero in on the best buys.
Stick to a List
Before you begin shopping, decide on a budget for the total amount you want to spend on back-to- school shopping. Then make a list of everything that’s needed for the upcoming school year. Be sure to make note of what items you already have and don’t need to repurchase.
Follow Your Favorite Brands
Leading up to the beginning of the school year, most stores begin to send out coupons and ads for sales. It’s a good idea to sign up for your favorite stores’ email lists so you get extra coupons and updates on sales and special offers. Following your favorite stores on social media is also a good way to stay updated on sales and promotional events.
Shop Seasonal Sales
Since it’s still warm when the school year begins, your kids won’t be wearing long sleeves or big coats anytime soon. Look for items that can be worn while it’s still warm out and also once it starts to cool down later in the fall, such as: t-shirts that can be layered with a sweater, sneakers that can be worn with shorts or jeans, simple design or solid color shirts that can be worn through multiple seasons. Many of these items can be purchased during end of summer sales.
Shop Coupon Sites and Blogs
Before hitting the stores, check out online coupon sites like RetailMeNot® and Groupon® for coupons to your favorite stores. These sites offer hundreds of coupons and provide printable or downloadable coupons that you can use. Many blogs provide tips for where to find the best coupons for that week, ways to combine coupons on sales, and general tips on saving. If you get your local newspaper, always remember to check the Sunday paper for weekly flyers, as some stores distribute their best coupons this way.
Some brands have online-only sales, offering more discounts if you purchase items online instead of in-store. Check out your favorite brand’s website to see if there are better sales online than in the store. However, be sure to doublecheck shipping and handling costs, as well as return policy information. If you have to pay a hefty shipping charge, it may cancel out the money you thought you were saving. And if you’re not able to return what you purchased, you could end up stuck with unwanted items taking up space in your closet.
Don’t forget to check out more money management tips and resources on our WalletWorks page.