School Supplies can cost a fortune if you don’t know how to find the best deals. About.com has tips on how to send your kids back to school without breaking the bank.
Shop early for school supplies, but not so early that you shop ahead of the back to school sales. As soon as you see the back to school supply sales, go ahead and get what you need. If you wait, you may find the “twelve pack of #2 pencils” is sold out! Also, shop around for school uniforms, a lot of retailers have them and you can get a much better deal than at the “official” uniform store. Another great idea is to start or sign up for a uniform exchange.
Even if you don’t get your children’s school supply lists until school starts, go ahead and stock up on stuff you know they’ll need over the summer to take advantage of sales. Keep your receipt in case you get the wrong thing. Also, buy enough to last the whole school year so when your child runs out of something mid-year, you don’t have to pay the regular prices for it.
Follow the school supply list carefully and pay close attention to what is being asked for. Teachers have reasons for what they request, so stick to the list! If you absolutely have to buy something different, keep your receipt. Reuse last year’s supplies where necessary. Things like backpacks, lunchboxes and waterbottles can be reused year to year. A backpack can look as good as new after a good washing.
If your kids insist on having everything new, give them a budget. That way they can decide whether they have to have that new backpack or if they can forgo it so they get something else they really want, like that Justin Bieber binder that everyone just “has to have”. Finally, look at second hand shops for school clothes. Great deals can be had, and because kids grow so fast, the clothing can be in like-new shape. Novels that middle schoolers and high schoolers have to read can also be found cheaply at used bookstores.