Back-to-school can break the bank before the year has even begun, especially if you have more than one pair of school shoes to buy in your house. Minimise the expense with these top 9 ways to save on back-to school supplies.
1) Shop at home first
Before you hit the shops, rummage through your child’s school bag, room, desk and the family office to see if there are any items on your child’s ‘must-have’ list, that he does in fact, already have. This first tip may just halve your shopping list.
2) Leave the kids at home
Kids in a back-to-school aisle are like pigs in mud! Avoid giving into their pleas for expensive smelly pens and sequenced pencil cases by leaving them at home. Oh, and maybe it’s best if dad stays with the kids too. Research by the American National Retail Foundation found dad’s expect to spend $671 on back-to-school shopping (including school supplies, electronics and clothing), while Mums plan to spend $545.
3) Give yourself plenty of time
You’ll pay top dollar for the convenience of buying last-minute school supplies at the newsagency the week before school starts. Instead, check junk mail ads for sale items and shop online for the best price. If possible, wait until school starts and then hit the clearance sections for bargains.
4) Buy in bulk
Big savings can be made if you buy in bulk. But if you don’t have the space to store 20 boxes of notepads and 50 boxes of pens, team up with other parents to share the supplies and the discount.
5) Use those freebies!
Instead of buying pencils and notepads, send your child back to school with the free ones that businesses hand out (you know the ones that are currently taking up space in your junk drawer). Also, don’t waste money on expensive labels, make your own using your PC and printer (find out how with Microsoft Office). Try repurposing unused kitchen labels, brightly coloured, shaped post-it-notes or just grab a piece of paper, scissors, stickers and sellotape or glue and let the kids create their own!
6) Pretty up stationery
Plain Jane school supplies always cost less than their fancier counterparts, but let’s face it, to a child they just aren’t as fun. The solution? Buy the budget-friendly basics from the bargain store and then let your child jazz them up with stickers and labels.
7) Only buy what you need
This one sounds obvious, but it should be the golden rule of back-to-school shopping. If your child doesn’t need a new pair of school shoes, don’t add this to your shopping list just because it’s the start of a new school term. Make a list of what he really needs and stick to it. Religiously.
8) Buy quality
The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is true, but especially so with school supplies. Don’t just grab the cheapest option available. Spend some time looking at how things are made, and choose the products that look like they’re going to last a few years. Go for the expensive backpack with the lifetime warranty, choose the spiral notebooks with the durable plastic covers. You may spend more now, but if it means you won’t have to buy replacements later then you’ll end up coming out ahead.
9) Go online
Avoid the hassle of crowded aisles by shopping online. With the click of a mouse you can compare prices and find the cheapest deals online. Plus, you’ll save on petrol!