Next to Christmas, back to school shopping is when kids reap the most loot out of the year. Let’s be honest: in a lot of cases, back to school warrants a bigger budget and more goodies than even your kid’s birthday. It’s outrageous, it can be expensive and it’s happening now. So break out those school supply lists and study up on a few quick tricks to saving (and saving big!).
Let the deals come to you
Subscribing to newsletters, promotional emails and daily deals sites will give you the chance to snag those things you – or, more likely, your kids – are craving at deep discounts. Consider the stores you know you’ll be hitting hard for supplies and wardrobe staples and sign up for their e-newsletters. Chances to save will appear right in your inbox.
There are a few deals sites geared to moms with kids, and now that Back to School is in full swing, the cute clothes and must-have gadgets will be popping up daily. Zulily is one of my favorites, with tons of designer kids brands marked down to shockingly low prices.
Thrifty tip: worried your inbox will burst with a sudden influx of emails? Open a free account with Yahoo or Gmail that you use just for promotions and deals and save your personal email account for (wait for it) personal things.
Buy in bulk
Everything from binders to book covers is cheaper when you can buy them in large sets. This works great if you have a bunch of kiddos heading back to school, but even if you’ve only got one on the way to first grade, there are a lot of other moms in a similar boat. Gather up a crew in the neighborhood, divvy up the shopping list and let the super savings begin.
Thrifty tip: Are there some extra notebooks or folders hanging around your office? Just think how easy covering up a corporate logo is with a few stickers.
Start back to school shopping in October
Much like the holidays, there’s a certain frenzy (joyful or not) that goes with shopping in the week leading up to the first day of class. But that’s also when prices are at their highest. If your kids can manage one extra month with the gear, clothes and supplies from last year, you’ll be able to save – and save huge – about three weeks after that initial rush. Be it backpacks or basketball shoes, you’ll be able to get double the stuff for the same price if you started shopping right now.
Splurge on a couple of things – but still save!
When I was in junior high I had to have Abercrombie and Fitch. That brand was literally the only thing I wanted Period. While A&F may have lost some of its luster in more recent generations, there’s always something new. Whatever your kid’s “oh my god mom I NEED this so bad” item is, look around eBay and craigslist before you go straight to the mall. Chances are you’ll find something similar and only lightly used for a fraction of the price. This goes for everything from the perfect pair of pants to a calculator for AP calculus.
Thrifty tip: As far as clothes and some gear go, consignment stores and garage sales are equally good places to check out, but only if you’re on a serious bargain hunting bend. You’ll really have to hunt to find a few gems, and that takes time.
It may be hotter and more summery than ever here in August, but the leaves will be changing before you know it. Let the countdown ’til day one commence – and the awesome shopping too!