Back to school on a budget

by MyDadBlog on August 18, 2011

in Uncategorized

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As the end of summer looms before us, countless parents across the country are struggling to obtain back to school supplies for their kids. When classroom supply lists are long and bank accounts are coming up short, buying your child’s back to school needs can be a problematic.

To stay within your back to school budget, create a school supply shopping list and don’t deviate from it.

Don’t succumb to impulse purchases; no matter if you find a great bargain on the clearance rack or your teen swears she absolutely needs the more expensive jeans. Stick to your guns.

If you can, shop earlier in the summer to spread the purchases out. You may not know all the classroom requirements ahead of time, but you know your child needs pencils, paper, pens, a notebook, etc.

Take advantage of any tax-free weekends. These generally occur toward the end of summer around the beginning of August. While not all areas participate, you want to shop during this weekend if yours does. Tax adds up.

Look for back to school coupons in your weekly newspaper or on store websites. You can print them out directly or use mobile coupons to save money.

Shop for trendy clothing at discount stores instead of department stores. Trends are always more expensive when they’re hot, but discount retail chains usually have their own versions and nobody will know the difference but you.

Take advantage of your neighborhood thrift store. Some consignment shops only accept gently used, like-new clothing, so get more for less money. You can also find backpacks and other items at thrift shops.

Look for online deals and shop from home. You can avoid the traffic and crowds by taking advantage of online store sales. Most offer free shipping around back to school time and you could end up saving as much as 25% compared to shopping the brick and mortar store.

Keep those supplies simple. It may be cooler to carry a zip-up notebook with hidden pockets to school, but a standard three-ring notebook will be significantly cheaper. The same goes for generic-looking notebooks and pencils. Never pay more for a design or brand name if you can have something just as functional for half the price.

f you’re still pressed for cash, shop with a credit card. Keep the balance under your budget to avoid racking up the debt.

For those with less-than-perfect credit, consider applying for bad credit credit cards. Almost anyone can qualify and even bad credit credit cards make buying back to school supplies easier on your wallet.

If you have more than one child, take them shopping separately. It’s easier to keep track of purchases without a crowd and it gives you a better chance to spend some quality one-on-one time.

Don’t forget to reuse any leftover supplies from last year, or any second-hand supplies from an older brother or sister.

You can even ask friends and family for leftovers or make exchanges to help everyone save money.

If you need to buy new back to school clothes, hold off doing so until after school starts and the Labor Day weekend sales begin.

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