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How to Save Money on Back-To-School Supplies: What Parents Should Know

money on text books representing back to school savings

It’s never too early to prepare for the back-to-school season and to give yourself a head start as a parent. Returning to school often includes shopping for clothes on a tight budget and buying all the essential back-to-school supplies.

Most parents want to learn how to save money on back-to-school supplies and keep expenses under control. Here, we dive into some of the best ways to budget for your child’s school supplies while providing everything needed to succeed in the new academic year.

How Much Should You Spend on Back-To-School Supplies?

School supplies can quickly add up, and costs tend to fluctuate over time, making it difficult to determine exactly how much you should expect to spend on essentials. In 2022, parents expected to pay close to $139 for school supplies and another $264 for school clothing and accessories. In a survey conducted by Deloitte, the total anticipated cost for back-to-school spending was around $661 in the same year.

With inflation driving costs of essentials up, it’s essential to manage back-to-school spending. Controlling your spending includes understanding where to cut expenses and adjusting your household budget.

10 Tips to Save Money on Back-To-School Supplies

With some financial planning, simple budgeting practices, and mindful shopping habits, you can minimize your school expenses before the academic year begins. These tips outline how to save money on back-to-school supplies.

1. Shop Without Your Kids

At some point, most parents have dealt with the hassle of bringing their children to the store and facing constant requests for items. Consider leaving the children at home with a trusted caregiver for your back-to-school shopping trip. By taking this step, you can focus on limiting your school budget to only the essentials.

It may be unorthodox, but you’ll be glad you saved money by not buying them the most colorful (and expensive) binder at the store or notebooks and pencils you already have at home.

2. Consider Refurbished Electronics

Today’s learning methods often include laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices. But purchasing new items can easily escalate your expenses, forcing you to dip into your savings account.

Before purchasing a brand-new monitor or tablet from a national retailer, consider opting for a refurbished device. These devices are used and repaired by a manufacturer before being sold again.

Refurbished electronics are typically available at a fraction of the retail prices of comparable new devices. The devices may also include extended warranty coverage if the manufacturer or an authorized third party repairs them. You can look for refurbished electronics from certified online sellers, like e-commerce websites.

3. Build Up Your Rewards with a Cash-Back Credit Card

With a cash-back credit card, you can earn valuable rewards in the form of cash you can use to minimize school expenditures. The more you spend, the more you earn, so remain strategic with your credit card spending habits. Also, remember that some rewards programs require you to pay the full outstanding balance each month.

A flat-rate rewards program offers the same amount of cash for every purchase. This type of card can help you plan how much cash back you’ll have when shopping for back-to-school supplies.

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4. Shop at Yard Sales and Thrift Stores

National retailers and e-commerce websites aren’t the only options for shopping for high-quality school supplies. You may find essentials at yard sales and thrift stores, typically sold at reduced prices. When shopping at these spots, look for items like:Back to school supplies

  • Notebooks
  • Binders
  • Backpacks
  • Writing utensils
  • Lunch boxes
  • School uniforms
  • Equipment for school sports

Some sellers at yard sales and thrift stores are open to negotiation, which means you could even score a lower price than advertised.

5. Recycle School Items from the Previous Year

Most parents don’t think twice about reusable items when shopping for the new school year. But many things can be used from year to year without showing signs of wear, such as backpacks, binders, folders, and writing utensils.

Before you hit the nearest retail store, see if there are any school supplies from last year that you can keep in your child’s backpack for this year. Examine all materials that appear in good condition and take those items off your shopping list.

6. Save Your Receipts for Future Discounts

Here is an interesting fact about discount shopping: Some retailers offer customers discounts to those who forgot to use a coupon for an item already purchased. The same deal may apply for back-to-back supplies at the time of the purchase.

While the offer may not stand at all retailers, it’s worth checking if you can receive a partial refund or a discount on a future school product like a backpack or pack of pens or pencils. Just make sure to bring your receipt to the store if you decide to request a missed discount.

7. Shop During Tax Holidays

In some states, the government provides temporary financial relief for parents with tax-free weeks and weekends. During this period, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on qualifying items. The good news is that many untaxed items include back-to-school supplies, such as electronic devices, learning materials, and books.

However, because these offers are temporary, keeping tabs on the next tax holiday in your state is important. If you live in Texas, the 2023 sales tax holiday will start on August 11 and conclude at midnight on August 13. You’ll be happy to hear that school supplies under $100 qualify for a tax exemption during the savings period.

8. Use Cash Back Apps

Similar to cash-back credit cards, cash-back apps reward users for money spent. For example, Ibotta offered customers up to $20 in cash back for the 2021/2022 school year. Customers could purchase their items online or in person at participating retailers and quality for the deal.

Slickdeals is another cash-back option if you prefer a browser extension system over a mobile app. This site provides vital information on the best shopping deals, including promo codes and available discounts.

9. Shop Online

Shopping online for school supplies is a cost-effective strategy for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare prices between selected items to find the best deals across different retailers.
  • You can qualify for inexpensive delivery options and, in some cases, free shipping.

If you want to get creative with your shopping routine, use coupon browser extensions to find automatic discounts on essential school items. Shopping online also saves money on gas and time browsing various retail shops.

10. Purchase Long-Lasting Supplies

Durability can make a significant difference when you’re trying to shop smarter and avoid excessive spending for school supplies. Look for high-quality school items if you want your child’s stuff to last. By researching insights about specific brands and products, you can save money in the long run and avoid buying new items each year.

To figure out how long something should last, check the warranty or guarantee on the product. A lifetime warranty can be a safety net if something goes wrong with your selection. Also, take some time to read online reviews and examine what other users have to say about a particular brand.

Get Cash for School Supplies with Power Finance Texas

By learning how to save money on back-to-school supplies, you can maximize your savings while ensuring your child has what they need for the coming year. If you need help getting the funds for your child’s school essentials, Power Finance Texas can help. When you’re short on cash, we offer multiple loan options to accommodate your financial needs.

Our loan approval process is quick, simple, and easy to complete. You can get the cash you need deposited in your bank account as soon as the next business day. Get started by applying for a personal loan.