Back to school is just around the corner
It’s almost August and that means back to school time is upon us! When asked about if he was ready to go back to school or not, I heard one teacher say:
There are three good reasons to be a teacher—June, July, and August.
While I’m sure he was just kidding (hopefully!), the fact remains that back to school is just around the corner.
Preschool, elementary, middle, high school, college, and graduate students everywhere will be gearing up for back to school and another year of living and learning.
And by “gearing up,” I mean forking out a boatload of cash on back to school supplies, clothing, technology, and a million other things on a back to school shopping list that seems to grow each year!
In fact, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this back to school season,
…families with school-age children will spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics…
According to their research, this number is down slightly from last year, but that is still a LOT of money if you ask me!
So, to help soften the blow to your wallet on back to school shopping, I’ve created a short list to help you save a little money.
Here we go…
1. Don’t let dad do the back to school shopping
According to the same NRF study cited above, the average dad “…will spend 34% more than mom on college supplies this year…” (check out their cool infographic on back to school college trends here).
Why such the big difference in spending?
My guess is because most dads don’t have quite the experience that most moms do when it comes to spending money, so they’re at a competitive disadvantage ;-).
But that’s just one man’s opinion…
2. Take advantage of back to school state tax holidays
Many states offer a state sales tax holiday on certain items this time of year to help encourage economic growth and spending.
The folks over at RealSimple.com have compiled a list of states that offer a back to school sales tax holiday, the dates of those tax holidays, and the items that qualify for savings.
Click here to find out if your state is on the list!
3. Not everything has to be brand new?
Not everything your youngster needs to buy for back to school shopping has to be brand new.
Sure, junior might be teased if he brings in your old lunchbox from the 1970s or ‘80s (Or maybe not? That style IS making a comeback!). But does he really need a brand new ruler and pencil box, EVERY year?
Same goes for this year’s version of the new “iGadget.” Please, someone tell me WHY a 6 year old needs an iPhone…let alone the NEWEST iPhone?
I still remember when notebooks were pads of paper and tablets were made of stone.
And to buy them you used to have to walk uphill both ways!
In the snow!
With no shoes!
4. Back to school savings on Apple (and other tech)
Speaking of the newest “iGadget,” back to school is one of the few times during the year you’ll find deals on a lot of Apple’s products (click here for back to school student discounts on Apple products).
You’ll also find great deals this time of year on all kinds of other technology including laptops, printers, cell phones, software, and more.
Sometimes these deals will even rival Black Friday prices, so get ‘em while their hot!
5. Host a back to school clothing swap
One way to save money on your kids constantly growing out of their clothes is to host a clothing swap with friends, relatives, and neighbors.
Have 10-15 people over and make sure everyone brings 5-10 items of clothing that don’t fit their kids anymore, but are still in good condition. Odds are, you’ll come out with some quality “new” clothes for junior’s back to school needs.
The best part?
You didn’t pay a dime!
6. Rent your textbooks
With Amazon.com and many other online retailers, you can rent textbooks for a semester at a much lower fee than purchasing them. Granted, you have to send them back when you’re done, but I’m sure you and your kids can live without that “Intro to ‘Micro-physio-bio-accounting’ 101” textbook.
You can also rent or purchase many textbooks in digital format. Although depending on the publisher, these aren’t always as good of a deal as you would expect, so you’ll have to compare prices to be sure.
And if you ever regret the decision to rent instead of buy and want to look something up, there’s this new thing on the internet where you can get the answer to almost any question you could ever think of.
Have you heard of it?
It’s called Google.
7. Don’t skimp on quality
Just because you’re trying to save money doesn’t always mean you need to spend less. Sometimes saving money is about spending a little more now, so you don’t have to spend a lot later.
In other words, you want to get the best value per “back to school” dollar spent.
Take book bags for example.
It seemed when I was growing up, every year my parents had to buy me a new book bag because my old one would rip or tear beyond repair.
In college, however, I decided to splurge a little and bought myself an Eddie Bauer book bag, a brand that is typically known for its ability to hold up well to a lot of everyday wear and tear.
I used that book bag every day through college and still use it occasionally to this day when my wife and I take casual trips, almost a decade later.
The bottom line is this…sometimes spending a little extra NOW will save you a lot of time and money LATER, so buy the best quality you can afford.
Well, there you have it, seven quick tips for back to school savings. For more time and money saving tips in the future, don’t forget to sign up to have our blog posts delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here or using one of the sign-up forms on this page!
Until next time…