The school season creeps up on parents and children more quickly than they expect and they often have to hustle to prepare. During this rush to get ready, the bills can mount up quickly and consumers find they spend more than they had planned. Here are some tips for saving money so that kids are able to go back to school prepared but parents don’t have to panic about the cost.
Even though autumn is several weeks away, start thinking now. Find out from parents of older kids or from teachers what your children will need to have when they turn up that first morning. With the list in hand, keep your eyes open for assorted bargains. Since you started preparing well in advance, you might have a chance to order items online and they will have plenty of time to arrive at your door. Last year’s supplies could be on sale. While not as trendy as new items, they are just as functional.
Anything that was not worn-out or run-down last year might be perfectly good this year. If kids complain, here are ways to approach the subject:
• tell them to buy new gear out of their spending money
• provide tools like stickers or scrap-booking paper to “jazz up” old binders
• compromise: let children pick out one new thing and find ways to make do with the old
If your local area hosts swap meets for school supplies, go along and take a look. These are events hosted by parents or sometimes organizations such as churches where families can save money by selling or swapping supplies. Maybe your child has grown out of his gym strip, but if his name is not written on the shirt and shorts and they are washed, there is no need to buy a brand new set. When students take good care of calculators, geometry kits, and even binders, these can be worth a few dollars to another student just entering middle school or high school. New labels cover old name tags. Well-washed lunch kits with working zippers or Velcro will suffice for another season of sandwiches and sliced fruit. Swap meets are popular also because it is environmentally friendly to re-use gear instead of buying new.
Do not let children brow-beat you out of buying new things because they don’t want their sister or brother’s old school supplies. Again, it is often possible to make a used item seem fashionably worn and to endow it with the new owner’s personality. All you need are a few art supplies. Second-hand gear is trendy because re-using items is “green.”
Let teachers buy items in bulk. This goes for binders, rulers, erasers, pencils: they can supply items they want their kids to have for lower prices and they are not trying to make a profit. With orders from 20 or so parents, a teacher can secure discounts from suppliers who offer rebates on large orders. With this system there are other advantages too:
• most kids have the same thing
• teachers know students are prepared with the items they should have and with the quality they need
Bargains vs. Bad Buys
It’s tempting to buy the cheapest items, but they don’t always work. Pencils costing $0.20 each won’t sharpen and the tips fall out. Erasers of similar quality leave marks on a page. Binder coverings tear and metal parts become warped after a month. Purchase reputable brands that are not suspiciously cheap so they last an entire year. Otherwise, supposed bargains turn out to be burdensome. You end up having to go shopping again and will invariably spend more money in the long run.
Note: At the main site here at MyFavDeals.org, we have an ever-growing category for Back-To-School savings, and hope you’ll find exactly what you need! Don’t forget to check our main listings to, as many of the websites that we feature will also be advertising Back to School deals!