Ways to Save Money When Kids Head Back to School 27 Jul 12

Ways to Save Money When Kids Head Back to School

Once again the summer is speeding past and back-to-school time is just around the corner. For many parents, this not only means earlier mornings and homework battles but also spending a lot more money. The good news is you can make it through the school year while still minding your budget if you draw a firm line between “wants” and “needs” and shop smarter. Here are some ideas:

Don’t Buy All New Clothes

No one says you have to buy your child a new wardrobe at the start of the school year. Instead of treating them to a shopping spree, you can:

· Buy them just one new outfit for the first day.
· Have them wear their summer clothes while the weather is still warm, then buy fall clothes when the prices have dropped.
· Plan ahead by purchasing clothes when they are out of season and on sale.
· Use hand-me-downs from older siblings and friends.
· Use online sites, like thredUP to swap children’s clothing with other parents.
· If you must buy new clothes, take an inventory of what your child has that it still good so you don’t buy duplicates and can select coordinating items.

Shop Your Home for School Supplies and Buy Items that will Last

Why buy new pens and pencils when you probably have a dozen or more laying around the house? Before heading to the store, “shop” your own house for supplies to prevent buying unnecessary items. Also, if you do need to get some new supplies, choose quality items that will last for several school years. For instance, paying a little extra for a built-to-last backpack is a worthwhile investment since you won’t have to keep re-buying one every few months.

Pack Lunches Wisely

If you’re not paying attention, you can waste a lot of money on your child’s lunches. Use these tips to avoid unnecessary costs:

· Instead of using disposable items like brown bags, plastic utensils, and bottled water you always have to replace, buy a real lunch bag or box and use items like cloth napkins and plastic containers that can be used repeatedly.
· Avoid “snack-size” pre-packaged foods. Yes, they are convenient but they cost significantly more and create more waste. Instead, buy full size packages and portion them out in your own containers.
· Stick to a list. Just as when shopping for all your groceries, use a list for buying lunch foods. This helps you avoid impulse buys and putting too much in your cart.

Buy Used Sporting Equipment and Plan Your Own Activities

It’s great for children to participate in extra-curricular activities, but they also come with added expenses. Keep them budget-friendly by:

· Buy sporting equipment used from consignment stores or from online sites like Craigslist and eBay.
· Keep an eye out for sales and discounted items that relate to your child’s interest and hang on to them until needed.
· Instead of participating in organized, school activities, find free ways your family can have fun together.

Do you have any other money saving tips for back-to-school time? Share below.