It’s back to school time and while for many families this is an exciting time. It’s also a very expensive time.
Did you know that the average parent spends just under $700 a year on back-to-school items? If you’ve got more than one child, it’s much more than this.
School uniforms and clothing, electronic equipment, backpacks, school supplies, new shoes, sports equipment, etc. they just keep adding up.
Wants And Needs
Normally, when you see an article about saving money, it will have a section on “buy only what you need” rather than what you want. It’s, generally, wise advice too.
Sadly, it doesn’t apply to back to school shopping. Kids grow up. You can’t ask them to go to school in shoes that are too small, carrying electronic kit that doesn’t work and with clothes that barely fit.
Well, I suppose you could if you were a very mean-spirited soul but you certainly shouldn’t. Kids need to be able to fit in at school and that means making sure they have what they need.
How To Reduce The Costs Of Back-To-School Shopping
You’re never going to get the costs down to zero. But you can get the bills down. Here’s what you can do:
- Look for sales in your local area. Don’t be afraid to visit a week earlier for a better price. You’d be amazed at how “back-to-school” kit is often very cheap before the peak of the season and again, just after it.
- Get coupons. Go through coupon sites, retailer’s sites, etc. and find coupons. You don’t even need a newspaper nowadays most of them are available electronically.
- Go second hand. This is often a great way to help your kids up the social pecking order, you may not be able to afford this year’s Nike Jordan range but you sure can afford last year’s. There’s a lot of stuff in goodwill and other second-hand stores that is in near perfect condition and it’s so cheap!
- Seek out corporate backpack giveaways. Many businesses do a bunch of back-to-school promotions with backpack giveaways. Find out if these are happening in your area and if they are, take advantage. A recent Verizon promotion, for example, saw kids getting nearly $50 worth of materials for free.
- Seek out charitable backpack giveaways. If the businesses aren’t playing charities such as United Way, Salvation Army, etc. might well be. If you’re in need, take advantage of help that is offered – there is no shame in this.
- Ask older kids to chip in with their pocket money. If your kids want the best of everything, it’s not unreasonable to expect older children to put a few dollars in toward the costs.
- Sign up for cashback from awesome websites. eBates is one of my favorite sites. You sign up for free and if you buy stuff they feature, you get cashback. This won’t stop you spending money, but it will mean it goes further. Sign up for eBates today!
Most parents agree that back-to-school spending is stressful. Use the tips here and cut the stress in half.
This piece was brought to you by Project Mom, a website dedicated to helping moms save money and have more fun. It’s a celebration of everything it means to be a parent. Oh, and they also have amazing giveaways every single day of the year – frugal moms love free stuff! Check them out.