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It is time to go through the clothes, check the supply lists and make sure the school shoes still fit. Back to School season is here, which means it is time to watch the budget with the extra spending. Simple tips keep our budget on track when we are getting ready for back to school time.
These tips are things I learned from my own parents back when I was the one getting ready for new crayons, a few new outfits and the chance to head out to the stores with my mom. We didn’t shop for fun, so the back to school shopping felt like an event each Fall.
There are great deals out there if you are watching, to keep your budget from busting and also let the kids get what they need even when you live on one income like we do.
These are the 6 tips I use to save money on back to school shopping:
1) Set a number of outfits that your child needs.
This is one way my mom made sure we were not spending money when we did not need to each Fall. I had to try on all of my Fall clothes and lay out on my bed about 10 outfits. If I was short 1 or 2, then that meant I was going to be getting 1 or 2 new outfits when we went school shopping. (Yeah!)
Of course it also meant if I had 10 outfits that fit just fine, I was getting nothing new. This is great as a parent, but not so fun as a kid. My parents always explained why they did this this way, so
as I grew I respected there financial lessons.
Have your child try on every piece of Fall clothing in their drawer. Items that are too small get placed in a bin for younger siblings (labeled with that size), get sold, or get donated. Ten outfits is a good number because then you have overlap for laundry days. If your budget allows, you can add a few for variety, but clothes can be mixed and matched to make different outfits too. Your budget will thank you!
2) Shop on your state’s tax free days.
No-brainer. Less tax charged to your bill equals more money left in your pocket after clothes shopping for back to school. You can view the list of each state’s tax free days for 2015
to plan in your shopping trips to match up. There are usually restrictions on what items are tax-free on those tax holidays, but generally clothing, electronics and school supplies have been included when we
have been out trying to save money on the tax-free shopping days.
If you are feeling generous, you can always calculate the tax you would have paid and donate that amount to charities that help families in need get school supplies and clothing. Just an idea!
3) Plan ahead to buy sale items.
It never hurts to check out the sale rack when you are at a local store. My luck is that I often find a great deal on an outfit or item that is completely out of season. Not always, but sometimes it
can work to look for the next size up (if you are shopping for the kids) and grab it so that you save and have the item ready months before the back to school shopping rush even begins.
Of course this probably only works until you have teens who may be pretty put-off with mom picking their clothes. Buying wardrobe staples like jeans, plain t-shirts or sweaters can help.
4) Spend money where it matters most-on
As I said it can be safe to purchase staple clothing items ahead. Jeans, khakis, t-shirts and sweaters are often items that kids can wear a few years in a row, so buying quality items at great prices can help keep these often-worn pieces looking less worn over time.
There are certain stores at which I cannot buy plain t-shirts (my mom staple). I wear them so much that this particular brand just does not wash and wear very well. I know to bypass that brand even when the price is really nice, because it will still be a waste no matter how cheap. Buying quality can often translate into the best deal over time.
5)Use Cash Back and discount coupons.
It just makes sense to earn where you can, especially in a one-income household. If you have to buy clothes, why not get 5% cashback on your purchase
? I think the tools are out there if we are willing to click through to use them. Saving money can mean earning money in return for purchases.
Sears has a few deals running for back to school season that help us save money and earn cash back in return:
Save an extra 20% off $50 purchase.
Kids need glasses? Find deals at Sears Optical Centers via ShopAtHome.com
6)Use supplies from the previous year.
As a kid my mom did not buy us a new box of crayons every new school year if we had a full box left over from the previous year. I was the kid with the used supplies, but it certainly does not
weigh heavy on me now. In fact, I appreciate the thrifty lesson it taught me.
Why do we need to throw away a perfectly good box of crayons or markers, just because it is a new school year? If they work, use them again and you have one less item to purchase-of course it
translates into a few less items since this probably works for the scissors, pencil box, and erasers too! Less waste, and that is a big deal these days.
How do you plan on saving money this back to school season? Share your tips below.
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