As the start of a new school year looms, many parents across the world are asking the same question. “How do I get my kids what they need for school at reasonable prices?” Every dollar counts when it comes to back to school shopping. There are so many online and in store options, it can be difficult to narrow down the best options to maximize your time and dollars. 

It’s important to discuss this topic with your children so they understand the importance of preserving school supplies. We do understand that some supplies may last longer than others, while other supplies need to be replenished frequently and quickly. 

To ensure your children start the new school year prepared and ready to work, consider these five ways to save on back to school shopping. The more money we save the more money we can use towards other expenses for our children.

1. Take Inventory Of What You Already Have: Sometimes we have school supplies left over from the previous school year. No need to buy what you already have available. You’ll save money by not buying duplicates. Have your children help out on this project. Search closets, drawers, boxes, under the bed and backpacks. You’d be surprised what you may find already at home.

2. Back To School Drives: Many businesses, organizations and individuals offer back to school drives in communities across the country. If you’re unemployed or in a low-income household and unable to purchase school supplies for your children, this would be a great option. Search for local back to school drives. Check your local news or radio station websites or social media for announcements. Ask local schools or non profit organizations if they have a list of local back to school drives. The more free supplies you can receive, the less money you will have to spend.

3. Ask The Teacher: It’s happened to most parents. We get the school supply list. Purchase the entire list. First day of school comes, then we realize our kids only needed 70% of the supply list. To avoid this, wait until the first day of school to speak with the teacher. Verify the supplies that your kids actually need to be successful. If you already have their teachers phone or email, contact them before school starts to verify the necessities so that you can purchase them before the first day of school.

4. Thrift or Consignment Stores: Brand new and gently used items are often donated to these stores by individuals, corporations and organizations. Instead of paying more at the mall or large retail stores, see how much you can get at these budget friendly stores. You may find backpacks, clothes, uniforms, supplies, sporting equipment and so much more.

5. Back To School Tax-Free Shopping: During early or mid August, many states offer tax-free weekend sales during the back to school season. You can get tax free on items such as school supplies, some clothing items, and computers. If your state doesn’t have tax free shopping, check if a neighboring state offers this option. Online tax-free options may also be available at sites like Amazon. Compare your options and choose which works best for you.

Set aside some time this week to create a Back To School Shopping Plan. Decide where and when you will shop. Ask friends and family for any shopping deals they may have seen or used recently. After you’re finished shopping, review your plan to make sure you were able to stick to the spending plan. Did you spend more? Did you spend less? Did you save? This will help you and your children learn how to continue finding ways to save every school year. 

Written by our contributor: Cleo Childress




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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.