Back to School: Save Money and Your Sanity

Written by Mary Lutz

Chinese Pensioners Dancing
photo credit: Ivan Walsh
It’s “Back to School” time! I’m sure you’ve been seeing the commercials and advertisements all over TV, the web and in your local newspaper urging you rush out and buy your kid’s school supplies and clothes before they’re all gone. With 3 kids out of school and my baby starting her Senior year in high school, I’ve been through the “back to school” rush more times than I care to think about.

Each year it’s the same old thing: gotta get school supplies before they’re all picked over and your kids are stuck with the “crappy” crayons, pencils and paper and gotta get the coolest clothes before anyone else or their friends will think they’re “copying” them. You know what I’m talking about right?

While I agree that there are some great sales on back to school supplies and clothing starting at the end of July and continuing through September, you shouldn’t have to feel pressured to make the sales in order to get the best supplies and sales.

One way to avoid the back to school rush is by planning ahead. Most stores will begin having sales on school supplies as early as the beginning of July. Most people aren’t in a rush at that time, so stocking up on the supplies should be more enjoyable for you, not to mention less pressure. If you’re child’s teacher provides you with a list of necessary supplies, try to get that as early as possible so you know exactly which supplies you need to purchase.

When it comes to buying school clothes there are a couple of different ways you can save money, as well as stress. First of all help your child go through their clothes to see what they really need. Get rid of everything that is too small by donating to your favorite charitable organization or consigning them to a resale shop. Also, throw out anything that’s holey or stained. Once you know what clothes your child has available to wear, you can then build on their wardrobe and won’t spend money on unnecessary items.

Since we’re already in the middle of August now and school may already be starting in your area, if you haven’t done your school shopping yet, you can still save money and stress with these few tips:

  • Try to shop the sales when traffic at the stores is lowest, like in the late evening or early morning
  • Hit the mall on a weekday instead of the weekend
  • Shop the clearance racks for supplies and clothing
  • Watch your local paper for “late” back to school sales
  • Shop on line


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