I still can’t believe August is here already. Summer’s almost over and school is just around the corner. Are you ready for back-to-school? According to the National Retail Federation, they expect families to spend an average of $603.63 on apparel, school supplies and electronics.
I’m sure everybody’s interested in saving money on back-to-school, especially given today’s high energy and food costs. Here are few tips to help you save money on your back-to-school shopping:
- Take Inventory – It’s a good idea to start by understanding what you need to buy. The best place to start is to go through the closet and take inventory of what fits. And check your school’s ‘school supply list’ and compare it to what you already have. Now that you know what you need to buy, make your back-to-school shopping list.
- Back-to-School Sales– Many retailers offer back-to-school savings on clothing, school supplies, computers and more. Keep an eye out for back-to-school sales and check your newspaper, email and mailbox for special sales, discounts, coupons and promotions.
When I went back-to-school shopping last year, I noticed the best deals started early. In Chicago most schools start after Labor Day and I found the deepest discounts in early August. You can also find great bargains after school starts, but there will probably be less selection.
- Stock Up and Save – Back-to-school is the perfect time to stock up on school supplies at rock bottom prices. You can find them in many places including discount retailers, office supply stores, grocery stores or drug stores. While you may be focused on crossing off items on your school supply list, stocking up on school supplies at bargain prices will save you time and money throughout the year.
Be sure to look for even better deals down the clearance aisles after school begins, so you can maximize your savings and stock up.
- Sales Tax Break – August is the perfect time to take advantage of tax savings on your back-to-school items like clothing, footwear, computers and school supplies too. Check out Kiplinger’s article Back to School Shoppers: Get a Break on Sales Taxes to see if your state has a sales-tax holiday. The article has information about the states participating, the sales-tax holiday dates and the items that qualify for tax savings.
- Buy used – If you’re heading to college, buying used books over new ones could save you 50%. Check online (e.g. craigslist, ebay, amazon) for savings on books and other back-to-school items. Thrift stores and garage sales usually have great buys on used items too.
As you go back-to-school shopping, consider those in need. There are many libraries, churches and other organizations who would appreciate your school supply donations (e.g., crayons, pencils, folders) for students and classrooms.
Do you have any other money-saving tips for back-to-school shopping?