It’s hard to believe another summer is almost here. It’s time to go back to school. Even though we’re no longer sharing our house, I do remember meetings, school supply lists, and of course my kids seeing what they “need” to make for a successful year in the classroom. Put it all together and add a powerful dose of inflation and you might be scrambling for tips and tricks to get through it all without ruining your money.
Here are seven ideas to help.
1. Start early. While this tip may not save you money directly, it will reduce stress and can produce some indirect savings. Imagine driving to seven different stores to track down every item on a two-page list of must-haves. Yes, you need the box containing the specific desired Crayon color combination for your child. If you are late to start shopping, you may have to go to multiple stores, and after the downtime, you can be burning off a lot of unnecessary gas affected by inflation. early now.
2. Make a list. You can make any kind of shopping more efficient and less expensive by starting with a budget and creating a shopping list. This will keep you on the right track and allow you to avoid impulsive purchases. Do it yourself, or better yet, if your kids are a little older, get them to join in the exercise. This technique works for anytime shopping, but the money lesson angle is especially appropriate when you’re getting dressed for back to school.
3. Shop at or near home. Being the oldest child, I wasn’t able to experiment with crafts at home. However, the able mom did not miss the opportunity to take advantage of our network to expand her options. Either way, you can save a lot of money. Heck, make an event out of it. A back-to-school flea market/neighborhood barbecue can equate to good times and nice savings.
4. Visit the resale store. Resale or thrift stores offer a great way to save especially if you’re shopping ahead of season or two when demand is low. Look for winter items in summer, and summer items in winter. You may also be able to sell any of the extra or unnecessary items to the shop… ka-ching.
5. Start financial school early. As I noted earlier, allow your kids to have a share of the clothes or additional supplies they want to buy. Allowing a child to buy some items with their own money teaches them great money management lessons and helps them realize how financial trade-offs really happen.
6. Timing is important. Based on my conversations, people focus a lot on their spending these days. It is just a fact of today’s inflationary environment. This means taking advantage of tax-free shopping holidays in your community or other seasonal sales.
7. Check with the school about technology. These types of purchases are usually best made through the recommended school vendor so technology and software application, security, and integration with the school’s network are checked. It’s no fun saving a few bucks and then realizing that an item won’t work on the school’s platform or network.
Back to school is a tough time. Make sure your spending pace doesn’t reflect the pace of your life as you prepare the kids for an exciting new year.
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