Back to school shopping has never been more stressful. With the high cost of rent and inflation, saving money is more important than ever. Here is what you need to do to make this years shopping less damaging to your budget.
Have A Plan
The last thing that you want to do is hit the stores without a plan in place. Unless you have an unlimited budget, this would be a recipe for disaster.
Set A Budget
Sit down and determine what you can realistically afford to spend on back to school shopping. Once you have a total, split it up among the various categories. You will need basic school supplies (paper, pens, etc), clothing and shoes. For most families, this will cover the basics.
Get A Supply List
Most schools will release a list of required school supplies before the beginning of the school year. Wait to shop until you have this list in order to avoid wasting money on supplies that you do not need. If you can not find a list, it may be best to wait until after “meet the teacher night” when you should be able to get an accurate list of required supplies.
Plan Your Trip
Once you have a budget in mind, plan your trip. Make sure that you take care of the most important supplies first. This will vary from child to child, but generally this means that your basic supplies such as notebooks and paper will come first. For most, this will be followed by shoes and then clothing. By taking care of the most important items first, you ensure that your child will have what is needed the most, if the budget gets tight.
Stick To Your Guns
You love your child and want to get them everything that they need and want, but stick to your guns. Retailers will be looking for you to spend and they will pull out all of the tricks. Have a firm budget and stick to it.
Shop Tax Free
Tax free weekends have become a tradition across most of the country, so you should take advantage. That extra 7 to 10 percent savings can really add up and helps you stretch your budget. Even better, retailers usually have their best sales during this time because they know it is the busiest time for back to school shopping. This all adds up to it being well worth it to battle the crowds because of the savings potential.
It’s Not Just Clothing
Depending on where you live, it may not just be clothing that goes on sale during a tax free weekend. In many states, computers and computer accessories are also tax free. If it is time for a new laptop or printer and you have the budget, now may be the time.
Concentrate On What Is Important
If your budget is tight, you need to make sure that your children get what is needed most. In general, this means, hard supplies, then shoes and then clothing. Here is how you should be shopping in order to save money and stick to your budget.
It is hard to learn without pencils, pens, paper and all of the other little items that your school will put on your child’s supply list. Once you have a firm list of what is needed, you should buy these items first. If money is tight, look for free supply giveaways. Many charities will be giving out donations of school supplies, but you need to be quick. They will run out before everyone can be helped.
If there is one thing that kids outgrow quickly, it is shoes. And, while you might be able to stretch out your kids clothing, when a shoe is too small, it is just too small. Prioritize new shoes over clothing, but shop wisely. Look for buy one get one half off stores and don’t forget to shop the clearance rack.
You usually do not have to buy an entire new wardrobe at the beginning of the year, no matter what your child is telling you. A few shirts and a few pants are generally all that is needed to freshen up a wardrobe. Shop the second hand retailers like Ross for the best deals, but you may need to shop alone. Most kids will not have the patience to sort through the endless racks of clothing.
Finding Extra Money For School Supplies
Even with a well planned budget, you may find yourself coming up short. This is nothing to feel bad about, this is an expensive time of year. Still, the kids need their supplies, so here are some ways to find a little extra money.
Get A Loan
Loans may not be the cheapest option, but they sure are fast. Even if you have bad credit, you may be able to qualify for a loan that can ease the burden of school supplies. In any case, it costs nothing to get a quote and we can help you get a no obligation cash loan quote. It takes just a few minutes.
Defer A Payment
Another easy way to get some quick money is to defer a loan payment. If you are financing your vehicle and are in good standing, this is as simple as calling your lender and asking. Auto lenders are used to offering payment deferrals, so this is generally an easy process and one that is almost always approved. Some even have online forms that you can use to request your deferral.
Have A Garage Sale
Last, but certainly not least is the old fashioned garage sale. The garage sale is a time honored tradition in this country and one of the best ways to get extra money when you need it. All you need is a few cheap signs and the willingness to watch people rustle through your belongings. Just make sure that you check with your HOA and the city you live in to see if permits are required.