It’s officially back-to-school shopping season, and the costs of preparing for August and September school start dates can quickly add up.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5% from $634.78 last year.
The good news, however, is that there’s no shortage of ways to cut the preparing-for-school bill, and many frugal shopping sites have shared their strategies lately. I’ve read through many of these tips and in today’s hint, I’ve gathered together three of what I believe are the best – i.e. the easiest-to-implement – tips out there for saving on school supplies in particular. And be sure to enter the “Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza Event” giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD, a personalized backpack and more – details below.
1. Don’t forget about what you already have. As Cheapism.com noted in a recent piece on “6 Ways to Save on School Supplies,” you’ll want to be sure to “raid your house before you buy,” especially if you have multiple school-aged children. There’s a good chance you probably have leftover supplies from last year around your house, and to make this search easier next year, be sure to “combine new items with leftover supplies in a designated tote or cabinet” going forward, as Cheapism.com recommends.
2. Stick to your list. Once you know what you already have, it’s easier to figure out what you really need. Write all of the items you need down on a shopping list, making sure to also consult any school supply lists provided by your child’s teacher or school. Then, when you do go shopping, stick to the list. As John Schmoll, founder of finance blog Frugal Rules, wrote recently over at U.S. News Money’s The Frugal Shopper blog, “whenever shopping is involved, sticking to a list helps you stay on budget.”
3. Buy school supplies offline. As for where to do your back-to-school shopping, according to DealNews, the best deals on school supplies can be found in-store. As Elizabeth Zimmerman of DealNews wrote in a piece on “5 Tips for Navigating Back-to-School Sales,” an analysis of last year summer’s sales showed that “shopping in-store will probably be your best bet” when it comes to saving on school supplies. The in-store deals were as generous as 1 cent backpacks, while the online details generally required that shopping thresholds be met to get the best discounts or free shipping, DealNews found.
If you like the idea of hitting the stores, make sure to know when, and if, your state offers a tax-free shopping weekend around the start of school, as Laura Harders, aka Beltway Bargain Mom, suggests over at U.S. News Money’s The Frugal Shopper blog, and hit local dollar stores as well.
One of my fondest back-to-school memories is going to the local drug store or office supply store before the start of each school year and picking out my new pens and notebooks (this is somewhat sad, I know, but it’s the truth). So, if I were still in school, I’d be in luck. Though, if you do prefer to do your school supply shopping online, be sure to check out the special back-to-school deal sections of the retailers like Amazon.com and Zulily, and also check out The Frugal Shopper blog’s tips for buying school supplies online.
To be sure, there are loads of ways to save on other back-to-school gear, like clothing. Cheapism.com, for instance, offers some helpful tips for finding cheap back-to-school clothes, while you can find some recommendations for cute back-to-school styles to consider over at Cool Mom Picks’ extensive 2014 back-to-school guide and Red Tricycle’s guide.
What tips for saving on school supplies did I miss? What’s your favorite way to cut the cost of school supplies and back-to-school gear? Share your tips, and enter to win tons of back-to-school gear, below.
Welcome to the
Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza
Sponsored by: Failing Perfect, Dibsies Personalization Station, Zazzle, Fundanoodle, and Educational Insights
Hosted & Organized by: Failing Perfect
Co-hosted by: Here We Go Again, Ready?, Intelligent Domestications, Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains, Spaceships and Laser Beams, Peace and Chaos, and The More The Merrier
I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! It’s time to get those kids ready to go back to school. It seems like just yesterday when we were looking forward to the start of summer. Because we love our readers – and their kids – we want to help you get ready for back-to-school by helping one lucky reader get the year started with a bang. That is why we teamed up with our blogger friends and a few generous sponsors to bring you the chance to win this fantastic giveaway!
One winner is going to receive a prize package worth over $430! This giveaway includes something for everyone in the family from preschoolers through college students.
Here is what is included:
- Kindle Fire HD 7″ Tablet, Wifi, 16 GB & $100 Target Gift Card from Failing Perfect (Retail Value: $269.00)
- Personalized Lunch Box & Personalized Backpack from Dibsies Personalization Station (Retail Value: $78.00)
- $50 Zazzle Gift Code from Zazzle
- Hot Dots Laugh It Up! Math Vocabulary Cards for grades 1-3, Hot Dots Reading Informational Text for grades 4-6, Hot Dots Pen, & GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope for ages 3+ from Educational Insights(Retail Value: $79.95)
- The winner’s choice of one activity kit: I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!, I Can Pound!, I Can Build Uppercase! or I Can Build Lowercase! from Fundanoodle (Retail Value: $32.99)
Back-to-School Palooza Giveaway: The Details
- Giveaway will begin on August 18th, 2014 and will end at 11:59 PM, Mountain Time (US) on September 2nd, 2014.
- Open to residents in the continental US, 18 years or older.
- One entrant per household.
- Void where prohibited by law.
- No purchase necessary to enter or win.
- Winner will have 24 Hours to respond to winner notification email, or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
- Winner will be chosen via random.org.
- The winning entry will be verified.
- Sponsors will be individually responsible for prize fulfillment.
If you agree to the above terms, then enter using the Giveaway Form below. Good Luck!!