(StatePoint) Between new clothes and new school supplies, back-to-school season can put a strain on household budgets.
In 2015, families planned to spend $630 on back-to-school items, according to the National Retail Federation, and this year’s numbers are also expected to be pricey. With a little planning, your family can get the most out of your school shopping budget by taking advantage of sales, comparison shopping, buying in bulk and simply by making sure you don’t buy things you already own.
Here are some smart ways families can reduce costs as students head back to class this fall.
Take advantage of end-of-season sales to stock up. This concept may not help you this fall, but it’s a great habit to adopt now for long-term savings. You can stock up on summer clothes now and great fall items once the weather gets chillier. Stores will be offering deep discounts and clearance prices on items that eventually will come in handy for next back-to-school season. Remember to take into account that kids grow quickly!
Add it Up
Bigger ticket school supply items can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t comparison shop.
For example, required tools like a high-quality graphing calculator can come with a price tag of $75 or more! Get more for your money with an affordable model, such as Casio’s fx-9750GII, which retails for under $50. It offers useful features like a high resolution screen and compatibility with a personal computer. It is also permitted to be used in such major tests as the ACT and the SAT. More information about calculators can be found at CasioEducation.com.
Take Stock and Buy in Bulk
Don’t buy things you already own, and take advantage of bulk discounts for the stuff you need! Before making your shopping list take stock of what school supplies you already have in your closets — and your child’s backpack — from the last school year. From scissors to folders to unused or partially used notebooks, you may already have many things your kids need for the year ahead.
For those necessities that kids will need all year long — such as tape, paper, pens, pencils, markers and more — take advantage of bulk sales at discount stores and online retailers. Buying more now can save you cash in the months ahead.
Brown bags, plastic baggies and plastic silverware are small expenses that add up quickly. Instead, opt for reusable lunch container alternatives and a one-time expense. It’s not only good for the planet, but kids will get on board if you let them pick items that speak to their sense of style. You’ll also save yourself trips to the store!
Don’t let back-to-school make a hefty dent in your wallet. At the store, take advantage of great deals and also consider different ways of eliminating perennial expenses.