Back to school season is once again upon us and it leaves many parents worried over the state of the banking account. It’s not that we don’t have money, it’s just that it needs to go other places as well and the cost of back to school supplies can be outrageous for a single child, let alone multiple children. So how can parents save money on school supplies in the midst of this crazy season without feeling like they’ve let their children down?
How To Save Money On School Supplies
Shop Basic Color Schemes
This one may seem like a nightmare to younger children but the truth is that kids don’t need Captain America or Elsa themed notebooks with matching folders and accessories. As adults we know that these items may get lost or destroyed and ultimately will just be used for note taking and doodling objects unrelated to the work the teacher assigns. However, to children these school supplies open up the gateway to peer pressure and feeling good about themselves. By having an open conversation with your child you can let him or her know that it’s more cost efficient for you to buy plain colored folders instead of the nicer looking ones they naturally want. This may not go over well at first but the lesson will be there in the back of their mind. Be sure to explain to children that by making the better financial decisions you are able to put the money into other locations for them such as school clothes or nicer snacks.
Stick To Your Budget
It’s hard to do and it’s so easy to get in the store and see that you forgot to budget for something. Yet, it is so rewarding to stick to your budget because at the end of the month the mortgage comes whether or not you stuck to your budget while shopping for school supplies.
Give Old Products New Life
If you have a bright spirited child who just isn’t okay with plain colored supplies encourage them to decorate old supplies or solid color items you already have. For instance, look around your house to see if there are any unused binders that are still in good shape. If so your kid can decorate the binders themselves or you can go online and print ready made pictures of their favorite characters to add to the folder for a more “store bought” look. This is a great way for kids to feel good about using cheaper items because it becomes special to them.
Wait Until After School Starts
School supplies start going on sale about two weeks before school but there is no rule that states you must have all your supplies by the first day of school. Actually, many teachers will have their own list of desired items for their classroom and may not even need the list of items available to you online or via the school. By waiting until the first week of school to start shopping for supplies you have a better understanding of what the teacher desires, therefore you don’t buy unnecessary items and in addition the supplies will be discounted at all of the local stores.
You may think that your go to grocery store will have the best prices but this may not be true. Some dollar stores and drug stores will actually have better prices for you to choose from. You’ll even be able to price match at the larger stores but only if you know exactly how much each item is elsewhere. Spend the extra two hours preparing and you will be less likely to cut into your grocery money for the week.