Get Smarter With Back To School Shopping

Posted January 29, 2024

In 2023, back-to-school spending is expected to drop for the first time in nine years, with consumers spending 10% less than usual amid inflation. Even as shoppers try to budget more carefully, back-to-school shopping expenses can add up quickly. So before heading out to the mall or getting online, consider making a back-to-school shopping plan you can stick to. Use these tips below to get started.

1. Make time to do some research.

From a 10-second online search, I found a deal for a 45-Piece School Supply Kit that includes folders, notebooks, pencils, pens and much more for the low price of $19.99! Instead of grabbing whatever is on the shelf, check out sales and shop around. Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace can also have great deals, which are always helpful as we grapple with ongoing inflation.

2. Be practical when it comes to back-to-school clothes.

Summer is the perfect time to go through your child’s wardrobe and discard or donate any items that can no longer be worn or can’t be passed down to a younger sibling. Take inventory of what you already have and what you need. It might not be a long list — you don’t have to buy an entire wardrobe. Your children will keep growing, so plan to spread these purchases over the school year to avoid the expense of buying a closet full of clothing that might be unwearable in a few months.

3. Be realistic about what your kids will wear.

No joke, when my boys were younger, they wore shorts all year! After two or three years of letting blue jeans go to waste, I purchased only shorts until they got older and wiser. Who would have thought “buy only shorts” would be a financial lesson I’d learn as a parent?

4. You can also consider shopping at clothing consignment stores and used-clothing sites like Poshmark.

You can find new and nearly new clothing in all the popular clothing lines for a fraction of the price. Shop these first, and save the malls and department stores for the rest. But buyer beware — at sites like Poshmark, all sales are final.

5. Take advantage of tax-free weekends.

Sales tax can add up quickly, and it makes perfect sense to plan your back-to-school shopping around these weekends to take advantage of significant savings. Many states have tax-free weekends in August before school starts. Read about your state’s tax-free regulations to see what purchases are included and at what prices.

6. Save expensive items for holidays and birthday gifts.

It’s normal for your children to want the latest sneakers, designer jeans or trendy backpacks. If these items fall outside of your back-to-school budget, give your children the option of putting these on their birthday or holiday wish list. Your child will get something that they really want, and you’ll make Grandma and Grandpa’s job much easier.

7. Teach your older children the value of a dollar!

It is always easier to spend someone else’s money. If your kids are older, consider letting them do their own shopping. Drop them off at their favorite store with a universal gift card preloaded with your child’s budget and a list of needed items. Allow your children to make difficult choices when it comes to limited resources and unlimited options. If they are old enough to have a job, make buying some items their financial responsibility. Your child will either impress you with their creativity or you will have to make some exchanges, but either way, it’s a learning experience.

posted by Steve Repak
on January, 29
Source: Good Reads

Steve Repak