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6 Strategies to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

6 Strategies to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

By    |   Monday, 16 July 2018 02:19 PM

Last year, U.S. families with children in grade school through high school planned to spend a whopping $29.5 billion on back-to-school shopping. That's a lot of money, but what is that money being spent on, exactly?

According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, families planned to spend $10.2 billion on back-to-school clothing, while another $8.8 billion was carved out for calculators, tablets and other electronics. A total of $5.6 billion was allotted to be spent on shoes, and $4.9 billion was expected to be spent on notebooks, backpacks, folders, pencils, lunchboxes and other school supplies.

For retailers, back-to-school shopping is the second-busiest shopping season of the year behind Christmas. You may have noticed that your local retailers have even begun setting up back-to-school displays. But what if you don't have a lot of extra money to spend on your son or daughter's back-to-school supplies? What are some strategies to save on back-to-school shopping?

Here are six ways to save money this season.

1. Don't Rush to Buy

Back-to-school shopping is an exciting time for students, and this excitement often prompts parents to begin tackling their children's supply lists early on. However, don't feel pressured to buy everything on the supply list right away. Some items can wait until after school officially starts and will likely be cheaper in September or October. This is because retailers will be preparing to shift gears toward selling holiday décor, such as supplies for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Therefore, they will be marking back-to-school supplies on clearance to move them off the floor as fast as possible. Waiting later to buy back-to-school clothing is also a good idea. Many retailers have end-of-summer sales, so you can stock up on discounted clothing items you know your child will wear throughout the school year.

2. Don't Stray From the List

Many school supply lists are long enough on their own, but when you begin tossing in extra items your child doesn't really need, your wallet will suffer. Keep costs under control by sticking to your list. If there is a special item your child really wants, perhaps allow them to use their own allowance or birthday money to teach them a lesson in personal finance.

3. Shop With a Cash-Back Credit Card

Most people have at least one credit card in their wallet. If you happen to have a cash-back card, you can ease the damage to your wallet come shopping time. To fully take advantage of your card's cash-back perks, check to see if it offers higher cash-back rewards for shopping at department stores. Depending on how much shopping you do, you can earn points on your card and trade them in for cash or gift cards later down the road.

4. Stay Clear of Office Supply Stores

For many, it's no secret that office supply stores are more expensive to shop at than other popular retailers. As the back-to-school shopping season approaches, check your weekly ads for deals on common supplies, such as pens and paper. Many grocery stores sell school supplies at surprisingly low prices, meaning you can complete your back-to-school shopping and grocery shopping at the same store.

5. Buy Refurbished Electronics

Refurbished electronics are ideal options for students because they don't cost as much as brand-new products and work just as well. Depending on whom you purchase your refurbished electronics from, you may find your tablet, laptop or other items run like new. Given that children are often more prone to dropping and breaking electronics, parents should reconsider purchasing brand new equipment for their child.

6. Check Craigslist and Other Resale Websites

Craigslist, OfferUp and even Facebook Marketplace are great places to check for discounted back-to-school items, such as electronics, backpacks and clothing. You'll often find people selling things like designer clothing for pennies on the dollar compared to what it would cost brand-new at a retail store.

These are just a few ways to save while back-to-school shopping this year. All it takes is a bit of patience when shopping sales and self-discipline when sticking to your budget and list.

Joe Resendiz is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, where he focuses on personal finance and credit research to assist consumers. Previously, Joe specialized on public sector and infrastructure financing at Goldman Sachs. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Finance.

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For retailers, back-to-school shopping is the second-busiest shopping season of the year behind Christmas. But what if you don't have a lot of extra money to spend on your son or daughter's back-to-school supplies?
back, school, shopping, save, spend
Monday, 16 July 2018 02:19 PM
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