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12 Tips for Managing Back-to-School Spending

school shopping with family

Are you searching for the best tips for managing back-to-school spending? As costs have continued to climb, many families shop early to save more on clothes, backpacks, and other school essentials.

If you’re trying to save money on school supplies, Power Finance Texas is here to help. Today, we’ll discuss how to save money on back-to-school shopping with twelve must-do tips.

But first: budgeting.

What Is a Good Back-to-School Budget?

A good starting point for determining your back-to-school budget is to look at the national average. It’s currently estimated that families with K-12 kids spend an average of $864 on school supplies, which has only increased in recent years.

Aiming to spend less than the national average is one way to budget. However, a more realistic budgeting method would be to estimate how much you spent last year and try to keep your spending under or at that amount.

For families on a tight budget, back-to-school spending can put a serious strain on finances. Plan ahead so that you can reduce costs elsewhere to make up for the amount you’ll spend on school supplies. For example, you can cut back on non-essential expenses, eat out less, and work to save money on groceries.

12 Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

Looking to learn how to save money on back-to-school shopping? These 12 tips should help.

1. Stick to Your List

One of the simplest ways to save money on back-to-school shopping is to stick to the list your child’s school gives you. With so many sales and advertisements, it can be easy to get carried away. Stick as close to the school’s shopping list as possible and resist impulse buying.

2. Check for Supplies at Home

Take stock of the supplies you already have before you go shopping. Does your child have any supplies from last year that they can use again? For example, you can reuse items like backpacks, lunchboxes, folders, and pencils if they’re still in good condition.

3. Hold Off on Purchasing Everyday Supplies

Everyday items like notebooks, pencils, and crayons go on sale throughout the year. Hold off on purchasing these items until you find a worthwhile deal. They may go on sale before the back-to-school shopping season begins or wind up in the clearance section before October.

4. Take Advantage of Coupons and Sales

This tip for managing back-to-school spending is especially helpful if you can get your child’s school shopping list early, as you’ll have more time to search for the best deals on supplies.

Almost every retailer has rotating sales, and you can save more by checking with local and online retailers daily and snagging deals as they arise.

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5. Shop Early

Shop early so that you can spread purchases out over several weeks or months. This will prevent you from being stuck with a massive credit card bill you can’t pay off. Refer to your budget and decide how you’d like to divide the expenses—for example, spending $100 per week on supplies over a two-month period.

6. Look for Student Discounts

It’s not uncommon for retailers to offer student discounts, especially on high-ticket items and computer software. For example, Adobe offers significant discounts to students on their website. Student discounts are even more commonly available for college students, so keep an eye out if you’re shopping for a family member who’s enrolled in college.

family at supermarket school shopping7. Shop During Tax-Free Holidays

Outside of supply shopping during sales, you can save more by shopping for the bulk of your child’s school supplies during a tax-free holiday weekend. Texas will have its 2023 tax-free holiday weekend from Friday, August 11, through midnight on Sunday, August 13, for qualifying items.

Common qualifying items include:

  • Shoes
  • Kids’ backpacks
  • Some sports accessories
  • Clothes
  • Basic school supplies

To be tax-free, these items must remain under a qualifying amount, such as under $100.

8. Stick to a Spending Limit

One of our best tips for managing back-to-school spending is to create a spending limit and stick to it. Get everything on your child’s list before shopping for non-essential items, like a brand-name sweatshirt your child has their eye on. This way, you can see how much you have left to spend on non-essentials so you don’t exceed your limit.

9. Buy High-Ticket Items Last

Prices can vary widely for high-ticket items like backpacks or electronics, and popular brands and designs are often more expensive. Purchase all the essential, low-cost items on your list first before turning your attention to the big-ticket supplies. That way, you’ll know how much you have left to spend.

10. Shop Around

Back-to-school supply prices vary widely between local and online retailers, so don’t be afraid to shop around. While it’s more time-consuming to shop at multiple stores, doing so can save money.

11. Buy in Bulk for Better Savings

Some items are on back-to-school lists every year, including pencils, notebooks, erasers, and folders. If you find a great deal that contains more than you need, consider buying in bulk and putting the extra items aside for next year. Bulk retailers, like Sam’s Club or Costco, may be a great place to start.

12. Plan for Next Year

Retailers commonly order too many back-to-school supplies items, and these items will usually end up in clearance after the back-to-school shopping season is over. The off-season is an excellent time to stock up on supplies you know your child will need next year.

Need Money Now?

While these tips for managing back-to-school spending can help parents save more throughout the shopping season, these purchases can strain your budget. Fortunately, if you need money now, Power Finance Texas can help.

We provide easy, fast installment loans of up to $1,250, which you can repay within the next six months. If you need cash fast, count on Power Finance Texas, and apply online for an installment loan today.