Back-to-school time is right around the corner and that means one thing – stocking up on school supplies.
If your budget is tight or you’re simply looking to save some cash, the good news is there are plenty of ways to save money.
If you’ve made it your mission to improve your financial health, a big part of that is being careful with your spending habits. It’s tempting to overlook and just accept the cost of school supplies, especially if it’s only a once or twice a year expense. But spending just a bit of extra time and effort can save you from overspending.
School supplies can be expensive, especially when demand for them is high. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families planned to spend $849 on average on school supplies in 2020 – a number which is consistently growing.
Here are ten ideas to help you avoid unnecessary overspending:
1. Take inventory of what you already have
There’s a good chance you already have some supplies from last year that you can reuse. Check through closets, boxes and drawers to find hidden supplies dotted around your home. You may be surprised at what you already have.
Gather them all together and take stock of what you don’t have to buy this year. You might find that you can avoid repurchasing most of the necessary supplies.
2. Always compare prices
To avoid overspending, be sure to always compare prices at several stores if possible before purchasing. You can use an online shopping comparison tool or check a select two or three stores for each item yourself.
3. Arrange a swap with friends
If you know other families in the same boat, you might want to coordinate a swap of certain supplies. Someone might have more than one of an item or want to replace it with a new one. Rather than throwing things out, gift or lend them to each other to save money.
4. Use a cash back app
Shopping through a cash back site like Rakuten means you could potentially get money back at a range of stores. Rakuten has over 2,500 brands such as Amazon, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and more that offer cash back between 1-6% of your total purchase price.
5. Check thrift stores
Thrift stores, garage sales or even eBay are great ways to save money on school supplies. Why buy things brand new if you can get a second-hand item much cheaper?
You can purchase things like clothing, backpacks, stationery, and technology at thrift stores to make big savings.
6. Avoid buying the latest tech
If you need to purchase a cell phone, tablet or a laptop, remember, you don’t always have to buy the latest models. If a brand new version of the laptop your teenager wants is out, look at the previous model and buy that one instead. You will likely find that most of the features are the same and can meet your needs just as well.
7. Use school purchasing programs
Some schools run a school supply program that you can register for to spread the cost of supplies over the summer. This makes paying for school supplies much more manageable.
8. Buy school supplies throughout the year
A great way to save money is to shop out of season. Sales on school supplies usually start around October after everyone’s back in school when stores want to make room for other seasonal goods such as Halloween products.
Use this opportunity to buy items you didn’t get around to buying in time or even stock up for the following year.
9. Partner up and buy in bulk
Some items such as arts and crafts supplies or stationery can be bought cheaper if you buy them in bulk. The problem is that many of these items are perishable and it’s hard to store them well for next year.
Instead, try to partner up with other parents looking to save and go halves on perishable supplies like paints and pens.
10. Shop on a sales tax holiday
Many states operate a sales tax holiday which lets shoppers buy items without paying any sales tax. This can help you save a big percentage of the purchase price on clothing, school supplies, and technology.
Many of these tax holidays occur in the first week of August, but be sure to check your state’s dates in advance. Many people save buying any supplies for this day, which makes them busy, so be sure to shop early to get the best deals.
Shopping for school supplies doesn’t have to be too expensive with a bit of careful planning in place. Making a full list of all the supplies you need and shopping around for different prices alone is often enough to save a good amount of money. If you still need extra money for school supplies this year, consider an emergency loan from Jora Credit today.
If you want to know more about personal finance read on How to prioritize your financial health in 2022.