With the start of school a couple of weeks away (for some of you even sooner than that), here are some tips to help give your wallet a break while back to school shopping.
1. Shop at Home First. We all have supplies for arts and craft projects at home, purchased throughout the year. Before you go out shopping, check for extra school supplies around your house. Bets are you have extra packages of markers, crayons, pencils, pens, unused notebooks or boxes Kleenex. Reuse last year’s book bag if it’s not too beat up. We have an every other year rule at our house
2. Research Local Newspapers and Online Sources for Discounts. Different stores will have discounts on different items. But remember: traveling to multiple stores, running all over town chasing a deal, can wipe out savings pretty quickly with gas prices as high as they are, not to mention if you include the “cost” of your time. Map out your travel and shopping schedule to eliminate this problem. If you plan to shop online for back to school clothes, many stores have free shipping, alongside discounts, if you order early and can wait for delivery. All with a few clicks of a mouse from your home or office!
3. Social Media. Become a fan or “like” your favorite stores, such as Target or Gap, on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Many stores will notify their most loyal customers of special promotions they are running or have deals specifically targeted to their followers.
4. Discount Warehouses. Costco and Sam’s often run deals on school supplies and clothes this time of year. These stores are terrific when shopping for multiple children. Buy supplies in bulk and keep leftover supplies in a Rubbermade™ airtight tub for other projects during the year. Shop this “store” the following school year.
5. Tax Free Weekend. In Texas, tax-free weekend starts Friday, August 19th and lasts through Sunday, August 21st. There is a $100 threshold, so bigger ticket items are excluded. The average sales tax is 8%. That’s quite a savings if you can handle the crowds.
6. Shop the List (and only the list). Stay on point. It is very easy to stray especially with kids in tow. If you can, leave them at home. If they want something not on the list, suggest that they use their allowance or perform extra chores around the house to get it. If they balk, then they didn’t really want it, did they?!