Easy Ways to Save on Back to School Supplies

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Summer is winding down, and for many people, that means back to school time – and shopping for school supplies. If you have school-aged children, you probably know this means buying more than a few notebooks and number 2 pencils. In fact, the average household will spend an estimated $100 per child for back to school supplies.

Before you start to panic, here are some easy ways to save loads of money on back-to-school supplies.

Take teacher lists with a grain of salt. 
Let’s be honest–some of the items on school supply lists are completely unnecessary. Chances are, your third grader doesn’t really need a stapler, and three boxes of Kleenex is probably excessive for a first grader. Stick to the basics, and if it turns out your child really does need that fancy calculator or bottle of hand sanitizer, you can buy it at a later date.

Take advantage of tax-free days.
Some states offer a few days before school to purchase school supplies without paying tax. This can really add up. If you live in one of the following states, make sure to do your school shopping on these dates:

Alabama: August 7-9, 2015
Arkansas: August 1-2, 2015
Connecticut: August 16-22, 2015
Florida: August 7 – 16, 2015
Georgia: July 31 – August 2, 2015
Iowa: August 7-8, 2015
Louisiana: August 7-8, 2015
Maryland: August 9-15, 2015
Mississippi: August 7-8, 2015
Missouri: August 7-9, 2015
New Mexico: August 7-9, 2015
Ohio: August 7-9, 2015
Oklahoma: August 7-9, 2015
South Carolina: August 7-9, 2015
Tennessee: August 7-9, 2015
Texas: August 7-9, 2015
Virginia: August 7-9, 2015

Watch the ads. 
Retailers are always trying to one-up each other, so make sure you start reading weekly circulars to find out where the best deals are. Use these ads to get organized. Make lists so you know exactly what you need and where to buy it. Try and shop at stores that price match so you can cut down on the number of trips you make.

Shop at home. 
There’s no rule that says everything needs to be brand new. If last year’s crayons are still intact or you still have supplies stashed in closets or drawers, use them. This will give you a great reason to de-clutter your junk drawers.

Set limits on spending.
Set a back-to-school budget and stick with it. This can also be a money management teaching opportunity for kids. For example, you may want to buy the basics, but if your daughter wants locker decorations or your son is dying for a pricey backpack, let them use their allowance or money for extras.

You don’t have to let back-to-school shopping eat away at your budget. Do you have any great tips for saving on school supplies? Share them below!

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Posted in: Education, Family, Minimalism and Frugality, Money

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