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How to shop school needs and save the most money
It’s back to school time all over the country – and, in fact, some areas have already gone back. Even if your kids have started back, chances are, you’ve not bought everything yet. So let me share with you how to shop school needs and save the most money.
Tip #1 – Remember: You don’t need absolutely everything right away.
There are always items that you can put off buying. If you’re not positive what you’ll need right away in terms of school supplies, email your child’s teacher and ask. Teachers often will put everything on the shopping list so parents are aware but they might not be planning to use all of it until later in the year.
Likewise, putting off some clothing pieces is recommended. Use the school’s dress code, or just common sense, and pick and choose what to buy first and what to wait on. That will give time for uniform pieces and other clothing to go on clearance and/or for you to shop consignment and second-hand stores for items. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll be able to spend less and get more – giving you the opportunity to stock up for next year, too.
Tip #2 – Skip most of the cutesy and expensive stuff.
Sure, it’s adorable to buy the matching rainbow and unicorn pencils and folders, but they cost a lot more money, plus you get fewer of them in a package. Stick to buying the basics that won’t matter as much if they get lost or stolen (yes, stolen). Unfortunately, the nicer the school supplies, the more likely it is they will go missing. And the more money you’ll have to shell out for replacements.
Tip #3 – Involve the kids.
Ask your kids to help you make a shopping list and set a budget. When they’re involved from the beginning, they’re less likely to ask for extras. To help them still feel like they got something special to use or wear, allow them one item they feel they “must have”, as long as it is in the budget.
Tip #4 – Use discounted gift cards.
Buy discounted gift cards from wholesale stores or reputable online retailers, like Swagbucks, to get an automatic discount on school supplies. Even better, start earning free gift cards through Swagbucks by taking surveys or using their search bar so you’ll have them when you need to buy more things later in the year.
Tip #5 – Swap with other parents.
Set up a swap party with friends and family to both help everyone’s budget and dejunk your homes. Gather any excess school supplies and outgrown clothes, arrange a time to meet together, and swap items you don’t need for ones you do.
Tip #6 – Buy refurbished electronics.
If your child needs a laptop or tablet to do schoolwork, consider buying a refurbished one from a reputable retailer. Refurbished electronics are a little older, but they have been restored to feel like new. They work well for a fraction of the price of new ones. Some websites are dedicated solely to selling refurbished computers, or you may find them for sale in-person at electronics stores.
Tip #7 – Shop in different kinds of stores.
Office supply stores may be the obvious choice when shopping school supplies but they don’t always have the best prices. Supermarkets, pharmacy stores, and craft stores often have sales on school supplies at the end of summer. Be sure to check out all of your local stores.
Tip #8 – Use the “In Search Of” or “Want to Buy” ability on community online sales groups.
Often abbreviated “ISO” or “WTB”, buyers posting a message looking for sellers of certain items can score some amazing blessings by just asking their community sales groups. So before you shell out big bucks on anything, ask. You might find that someone has what you need and is willing to part with it for next to nothing.