Like it or not, back-to-school shopping season has arrived. While retailers are rolling out displays stocked with pencils and calculators, we're breaking down our best money-saving tips to help your family start a new school year without breaking the bank.
First, hunt down a shopping list from your kid's school. Most teachers will detail the quantity of each item, which helps take the guesswork out of your shopping.
Take inventory of what you have. Gut your closets and find out what clothing fits and what doesn't. Donate anything that's no longer needed and create a detailed list of any necessary items. Then, search for the best sales.
Follow your favorite stores. Most brands will offer VIP sales, early access to deals or even giveaways to their loyal fans on social media. Don't forget to sign up for email newsletters to get savings directly to your inbox.
Set a budget and stick to it. Carefully evaluate what you can afford to spend and try not to exceed that amount. It's easy to overspend on larger items like backpacks so think carefully about how you want to allocate your cash.
Save your receipts and check each store's return policy, which could be a lifesaver if you end up overbuying.
Pay with cash if you can. This tactic is useful in any budgeting situation as it helps you visualize the money being spent. Putting kids in charge of the cash while shopping also allows them to learn this all important life lesson.
Buy in bulk. Take advantage of really good deals by stocking up on certain items like notebooks, pens, pencils and folders. You'll save yourself the hassle of making a second trip in a few months, plus anything leftover can be used next year.
Investing in reusable lunch accessories like an insulated bag and washable containers is worth it. Not only will your child be more likely to maintain a healthier diet, just think about all the lunch money you'll save throughout the year.
Use coupons and check grocery circulars for special sales. Many manufacturers and retailers plan sales cycles around the back-to-school season.
Host a clothing and school supply swap. If your friends have kids around the same age as yours, this is the perfect way to clear out what you don't need while crossing off a few items on your shopping list. Plus, it's a great excuse to get together and catch up!