Preparing For Back To School On A Budget

schoolSummer seems to have passed by quickly, and now it seems like parents and their children are already preparing for a new school year.

While the average parent will spend $673.57 per child for items needed, it doesn’t have to be so expensive. There are lots of ways to prepare for back to school on a budget.

Check Your Inventory

First things first, check your inventory. You may find supplies, clothes that your kids can fit into now, and more. As you are going through the supplies you have, keep a running checklist of things you may need or that come to mind. If you have a list of items needed from your child’s school, you can just add on to this list.

Checking your inventory helps you prepare for back to school on a budget by helping you avoid buying extra things you may not even need. Why buy an extra pack of crayons if you already have three?

Set Your Budget

Once you’ve gone through your inventory, the next step is to actually set a budget for your back to school shopping. Every family’s financial situation is different, but you should at least aim to only spend what you have in cash to spend.

If that means only $100 for each child, that’s OK. With these tips, you should be able to prepare for back to school on a budget, even if your budget is smaller.

Shop Sales and Clearance Racks

Now that you have your list and your budget set, you can get to shopping. The easiest way for preparing back to school on a budget is to buy what you can on sale or clearance. Many stores have back to school sales, so make sure you read their flyers or online options before shopping at one place.

If you find deals at multiple stores, don’t be afraid to make a few stops. You are trying to get the best price and stay within budget. If there are items on your list that you can’t find on sale or clearance, there are other options to consider as well, like thrift stores and shopping online.

Shop Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are typically known for their clothing and home items, but you can find school supplies too. From backpacks to pencils, you may be able to complete your shopping list at the thrift store. Plus, if your children do need clothes, you may be able to find gently used clothing for a lot cheaper than what you’d spend for brand new clothes.

I highly suggest buying clothes from a thrift store if your kids need them, especially if they are younger. Since children grow so fast, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on clothes that they will outgrow soon anyway.

Look Online

If you still haven’t completed your list, or if you don’t want to go through the hassle of shopping back to school sales, you can always prepare for back to school on a budget online. Many of the stores that hold sales in store will also have the sales available online. If not, there are online-only stores that may be running sales as well.

Another great way to save money while shopping online is to sign up for the store’s email list. You can typically get 10-25% off of your first order, or even get discounts for being a repeat customer. Couple that with an ongoing sale, and you can save a ton of money.

Buy School Items In Bulk

If you have multiple children going back to school, buying in bulk may be the best option for you. Places like Sam’s Club and Costco typically have back to school items for deep discounts around July and August.

I’d only recommend this option if you have more than two kids, and you have compared prices from the bulk stores to prices at non-bulk stores. However, if you can save money that way, buying in bulk is a smart move.

Work With Your Child

If your child is of working age (or even in college) you can always have them pay for some of their items. For example, if you have a set budget for your child, but they want a special item that isn’t in the budget, you can have them pay for a certain amount of the item, or buy it themselves.

As a parent, it may be hard for you to let your child pay for things, but not only will this teach them responsibility, but it will also teach them the value of a dollar and how far their money goes based on what they buy. It’s okay to want Nike shoes, but if you don’t have the money to pay for them, you either have to skip out on buying them or earn the money needed. As a teenager or college student, this is an important skill for your child to know.

These tips are great to help you prepare for back to school on a budget, but there are so many other ways to cut costs. As long as you have the essentials, like your list and a budget, you should be able to save money and get all that you need for a lot less than the average.

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About Kimberly Studdard

Kim is a Texan native who has lived in Kansas City, MO with her husband and daughter for almost five years. She spends her days as a virtual assistant, blogger at The Entrepremomer and mother. Juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood isn’t always easy, but she’d take that over a desk job any day.

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2 thoughts on “Preparing For Back To School On A Budget

  1. As a classroom teacher I fully advocate checking to see what you already have for school supplies. I like the whole 'new supplies' feel as much as the next person, but so many things can be reused for a couple years if they are treated well. I also recommend buying extra of the fast consumables (like pencils, looseleaf or pencil crayons) when the sales are on. They are so much more expensive when your child runs out in, say, January.

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