Back to school shopping will be a little more expensive this year due to rising cost on all goods. Buying school supplies, clothing and shoes can be a huge expense, especially if you are buying for multiple children. Here are some money saving tips to help you prioritize your spending and make your dollars go farther.
- Create and prioritize your list of back-to-school shopping needs.
Before you start shopping, create a list of needs and put them in order from most pressing to least. So, a few new shirts and a pair of shoes might be at the top of the list and that new iPad for homework might be at the bottom. You may not be able to cover everything right away—but creating this list will help you see what you need to tackle first.
- Make a back-to-school budget.
Now that you have your list, it’s time create a budget. Remember, a budget actually gives you permission to spend! When you make a budget and stick to it, you’re telling those hard-earned dollars where to go (and where not to go).
As you set up your budget, make a new budget category for school-related expenses that happen every single month (like after-school care or field trip fees). Other back-to-school expenses will be a one-time thing—like all those three-ring binders. All those one-time school supply items can go in a separate budget line item.
- Save on clothing by seeing what you already have.
Kids grow. And growing means outgrowing clothing.
Before you start back-to-school shopping find out what still fits, what doesn’t and are there any hand-me-downs from your older kids? All this sorting will definitely take some time, but in this case, time spent is money saved. And don’t feel like you have to buy a whole new wardrobe before school starts—because you don’t.
- Spread out the shopping.
Spread out the spending over several months to make it easier on your budget.
You’ll feel the draw of those back-to-school sales. But there will be other sales.
Buy a little this month, buy a little next. Don’t blow the budget in August. Not only is that a risky money decision, but your kid is also likely to shoot up another inch by October.
- Know the difference between cheap and value.
Inexpensive things can sometimes fall apart quicker from everyday use. As you shop for deals, think more about the word value than the word cheap.
If something is low cost, it can be a good value. But if something is low quality, it isn’t worth your money. Especially if you have to replace it in a few months all over again.
- Take advantage of that back-to-school tax-free weekend.
If your state has sales tax and schedules a tax-free weekend this year, plan your shopping around that date and get in on those savings! Depending on your state, you can usually buy clothing, school supplies, shoes and even some tech items tax-free.
- Use coupons while back-to-school shopping.
You can save so much money by finding coupons online or by checking those old-fashioned paper sales ads. It seems like a lot of work clipping or clicking and then keeping up with it all—but $0.50 here and $1 there really adds up. Literally. There are also coupon apps out there that help you save all those coupons.
- Limit the kids’ extracurricular activities.
This is something to keep in mind all year long.
If you want to trim up the extra spending, think about cutting the extra extracurriculars. See what your family budget can handle, and limit the number of extracurricular activities you’ll take on this year. It’ll save you time and money.
- Shop the sales.
This may be a no-brainier but it’s worth saying. Keep an eye on circulars and emails with special offers for back-to-school savings. It could help saving a ton! And many times you can buy online and avoid the crowds at the stores!
It’s All About That Back-to-School Budget!
Getting ready to go back to school can be stressful, but it’s about much better when you follow these tips—especially the budgeting part.
This commentary was originally posted by Ramsey Solutions July 19 2022
**Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.