If you live in many parts of the country school is underway; some are already a number of weeks into the school year. That being said, for most of the Northeast school has yet to start, with the first day of school this Thursday, September 4th.
Which still gives us time to present some great back-to-school saving tips culled from our users, some of whom are money-saving experts in their own right. Here is our list of the top 8 money saving tips for this most expensive time, where costs per child can run upwards of $300.
1. Price Match
Many of the large stores will price match, even price matching online deals. When shopping for school supplies check online deals and compare them to the prices at your local stores including Staples and OfficeMax. They will match the price and this way you don’t have to wait for your supplies, an especially helpful tip if you push your shopping off until the last minute. Hey, we can’t blame you for not wanting the summer to end.
2. Use Gift Cards
Whether you do your shopping online on in a brick and mortar store discount gift cards from CardCash.com can be used for straight out savings, or can be stacked with other coupons and deals for double the savings.
This can be especially helpful on apparel and shoes which can get quite costly, and on some more expensive classroom items. Gift cards to Books-a-Million for textbooks, and Office Max, Office Depot and Staples gift cards for everything from paper to graphing calculators go a long way.
3. Shop Early or Late
The stores try to entice you with sales at the beginning of the season, in order to get the ball rolling at a time that for many stores is a tremendous source of revenue, second only to the holiday season. The sales reappear at the end of the back-to-school season as well, as stores try to get rid of merchandise rather than hold onto it for another year.
One example of this: Staples had composition notebooks for .01 at the beginning of the season to get customers into the store. This week those notebooks were again on sale, this time for .50. While not quite as good as a penny, still a pretty nice price on a classroom essential.
4. Tax Breaks
This one is a little less known and varies from state to state, but in many areas you can get a tax break or reimbursement for your back-to-school shopping. The state of Minnesota for example allows a deduction on your tax return for school supply spending. Other states have tax-free shopping periods during the back-to-school season, though the number of states doing that is shrinking.
5. Shop at Home
And we don’t mean at the computer! Go through all of your child’s drawers and closets to find supplies that have not been used from the year before. Even some items that have been gently used can be reused for the new school year for savings of 100%!
6. Bring Back the Retro Look
This one may be hard sell with the kids: Teach them that old is cool. Some of their back-to-school shopping can easily be done at thrift stores, even finding some great retro vintage clothes and supplies like old fashioned lunch boxes. Not only will you save tons of money, but your kids will be amongst the coolest kids for their look.
7. Supply List Only
Stick to your school’s supply list. Make a copy and take it with you to the store; don’t be swept up by all the buying of unnecessary items that teachers will only take away from your child, or worse yet, your child will get bored of after two weeks of school.
8. Save All Year Long
Aside for stocking up on deals whenever you find them, there are day-to-day savings to be had throughout the school year. Stock up on extra supplies for when your child runs out. Or another great reader tip: pack fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks rather than unhealthy overpriced options for your kids.
And of course, make sure to prepare them with a smile and great attitude!