Back to school shopping can be very expensive. We need to buy school clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch pails, and school supplies for all of our kids. These items can add up quickly!
Are there any ways that we can save on this huge expensive that we have to pay for every year?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend a fortune on my kids back to school shopping. Over the years, I have spent a large amount of money in this area. However, there are a few tips that I learned along the way that can really save a lot of money on back to school shopping.
1. Start Early
If you haven’t noticed by now, back to school supplies and clothes begin popping up in stores around the end of July. July and August are truly the best times to buy school supplies. During this time, you will find the lowest price of the year on most school supply items. This is the time to not only buy the supplies that your kids will need to begin the school year, but also the time to buy the supplies needed for the rest of the school year.
The reality is that your child will need certain supplies, like pencils, binder paper, white board markers, or glue, again after Christmas break. School supplies after Christmas break will often be twice as much or more as they are at the beginning of the school year. So as you’re buying school supplies, remember to think about the whole school year.
As far as clothes shopping, you will also need to start early if you want to buy shorts or short sleeve shirts for your kids. Many clothing stores begin phasing out their summer clothes and put out warmer fall clothes by the end of August. Here in California, we have warm weather until October so I need to buy some back to school clothes in July.
Personally, I don’t buy my son any pants, sweatshirts, or long sleeve shirts until the end of October. I have learned the hard way that sometimes my kids go through a growth spurt during the beginning of the school year so I hold off on buying warmer clothing until it’s necessary
2. Stay Away from Name Brands (for the most part)
When my oldest son was growing up, I had this illusion that I needed to buy only name brand clothes or shoes because they were better quality. In some cases, this is true. However, in many cases it is not.
I have found that most clothes are created equally. Even name brand clothes and shoes are often made in the same parts of the world as non-name brands. In most cases, there doesn’t seem to be much difference in quality between the two.
There are some cases, such as with jeans, that I will spend the extra money for a name brand because my youngest son is so rough on his jeans. I think that boy crawls around at school, because he will have holes in his pants within a couple of weeks of having them.
Also remember, your kids are growing and more than likely they will outgrow the clothes or shoes you’re buying them for the school year anyway. So don’t spend extra money on name brand clothes or shoes that your kids may outgrow by Christmas unless you feel it’s necessary.
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3. Buy a Quality Backpack
I know that I just told you to stay away from name brands. However, when it comes to backpacks, I have to make an exception.
Cheap backpacks usually do not last the entire school year. As a teacher, I have first-hand knowledge of what kids do with backpacks. They are tossed and thrown around like rag dolls, stepped on, and sat on. Many times these backpacks don’t stand a chance of lasting through the school year.
There have been numerous times that I have had to buy my son another backpack before the school year was over due to a broken strap or zipper. Well, I finally learned my lesson and spent a little extra money on a backpack, and it lasted all school year. I really like JanSport backpacks. This brand of backpack can take a beating and last the entire school year.
So spend a little extra money and buy a quality backpack, or you may have to spend a lot more money later.
4. Save all Receipts
My last tip is to save all your back to school shopping receipts. You may need to return some items after school has started.
I keep all my back to school receipts in a large manila envelope that is labeled “Back to School Receipts” along with the school year. I guess that I am old-school because many of you probably have a more sophisticated way to organize your receipts than I do, such as with an electronic receipt scanner.
Whatever way you use, keep your receipts just in case you need to take any items back. Sometimes certain school supplies may be supplied by the teacher or clothes that were bought at the beginning of the school year may not fit as well in October. You want to be able to get your money back for these items.
I would love to hear some ways that you save on back to school shopping. Please share your tips in the comments below!