10 Thrifty Tips on Saving Money This Back-to-school Season

Becky | Freebie Lady
by Becky | Freebie Lady

Back-to-school season is near, which means we are all going to be spending money. I am here today with some great back-to-school saving tips for all the parents out there who are on a budget.

We will start with the general strategies and then get into the specifics. Let’s get started with my tips on saving money this back-to-school season!

1. Set a budget

My first back-to-school tip is to set a realistic limit per kid that you are going to spend. I would break that down into three categories: actual school supplies, backpacks, and clothes. This way, you will be able to control your spending better.

Taking inventory of school supplies

2. Inventory

When it comes to the basics, like pens and papers, I highly recommend that you take inventory in your own home before you even set foot into the major box stores.

You would not believe how many things that are on the teacher's list that you have in that random junk drawer in your kitchen.

3. Shopping alone

If you are going to go into stores, do not take your kids with you. As a parent, I am sure you know that your kids are going to want the 52-pack of Sparkle pens as opposed to the ten-pack of washable markers that the teacher asked you to buy.

Back-to-school savings tips

4. Searching the box stores

Not a lot of people know that the major box stores will take a loss with some of the basic back-to-school stuff, like markers, papers, and pens, just to get you into the store.

So when shopping for the basics, I highly recommend you get out the circulars, you get out the app called Flipp and you see what major box stores have it for less.

With that said, I do not recommend that you drive around four stores just to save $0.25 on some markers. Sit down, take out a pen and paper, add up all of the basic school supplies that you need, and see which one is going to be the least expensive.

5. When to go

Do not wait until the last minute, because this is how you end up making poor financial choices. Be strategic. You are better off buying the basic school supplies during the back-to-school sales.

With the more expensive things, however, you should wait, if you can, until after school starts, because those are going to be cut back dramatically.

How to save money on kids' backpacks

6. Backpacks

When it comes to backpacks, I recommend that you go for a quality backpack that will last you years, as opposed to the cheap character backpacks you will have to spend $30-40 on every year.

But a backpack is one of those examples that I recommend you wait as long as possible to buy that character backpack at the major box stores because after the back-to-school season has started, the prices will be slashed.

If your kid really wants that really expensive character backpack, try Poshmark, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace and you might find the same thing almost new for a much lower price.

Speaking of backpacks and school supplies, every year major companies, such as Verizon, give away backpacks full of supplies as a promotion for their business. Many of them do not ask for your income, and there is no qualification.

7. Shopping online

When it comes to the big box stores, I recommend not even going into the stores. Go online shopping, because during the back-to-school season, they will probably be giving you free shipping.

On top of that, you can use cash-back apps and extensions, like my favorite TopCashback, which usually has the highest percentage cashback. With the code SAVE10, you can get $10 back on a purchase over $25.

However, we do not even stop there. You can also use something like Price.com, which is a price comparison tool, and something like Honey, which will add coupon codes at checkout. Those three things combined will offer you huge savings that you cannot get in a store.

Buying equipment for school

8. Expensive equipment

If your kids need laptops or those really expensive calculators, you can save a ton of money by actually renting them and sending them back at the end of the year. If you do need to own them, go on Poshmark, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace to get them for a 10th of the cost.

9. Gift cards

If you are going back to school shopping and you know you are going to spend $50 or more at a specific store, either in-store or online, I really encourage you to buy a discounted gift card.

If you happen to be shopping at Target and do not have a red card already, you can get $40 just for getting one. It does not even have to be a credit card, but rather a regular debit card connected to your bank account.

Tips on saving money this back-to-school season

10. Clothes

If your kids are old enough to be asking for expensive clothing, I recommend giving them a budget and allowing them to set their priorities.

If your kids are 14 years or younger or just have a little body frame, Once Upon a Child is a treasure trove for name-brand items at a discounted rate upon a child. That is a consignment shop that only sells items that are two years old or newer with no stains or tears. We buy 80% of our back-to-school clothes there.

Another great place to shop for kids’ clothes is Poshmark, and they are giving away $10 to every new user. Finally, check out Facebook Marketplace and moms’ groups on Facebook.

When it comes to saving money on back-to-school clothes, keep in mind that you do not need to buy six months’ worth of back-to-school clothes before the first day of school. You can buy a couple of items for that first week of school and then buy more as they go on sale.

The longer you can wait, the more money you are going to save.

Tips on saving money this back-to-school season

I hope you have found these tips for back-to-school shopping useful. If you have any more advice, leave a comment below to help others out.

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