By Lifestyle and frugal-living expert Leah Ingram
According to a recent National Retail Federation survey, the average family expects to spend about $550 on back-to-school shopping. That’s way too much in today’s economy. That’s why I’ve put together these 9 tips that can help you spend $90 or less on your back-to-school necessities.
1. Get your child’s school supply list before you hit the stores. By knowing ahead of time what you need to buy, you won’t end up spending money on anything your kids don’t absolutely need for the first day of school.
2. Start by shopping at home via your kids’ leftover school supplies from the last year. This is a chance for you to inventory what you already own or what you still have from last year that you can reuse this year.
3. Focus your shopping in a store where you can buy all of your back-to-school necessities–from socks to scissors to sticky notes. By limiting where you do your shopping, you can avoid any impulse purchases that can happen when you go from store to store. For example, Walmart is the perfect one-stop-shopping resource that allows you to find everything you need in one place.
4. Make your kids pay for any "upgrades." If they need a basic pencil box–but want the SpongeBob version instead, that just happens to cost a bit more–that’s fine. Just make them use their allowance to pay for the difference.
5. Take advantage of bundle deals that can keep your costs in check. For example, Walmart offers an elementary school bundle of supplies where, for less than $9, you can get your crayons, glue sticks, markers, notebooks, colored pencils and more.
6. Shop with another mom so you can split the costs. Maybe your daughter needs only three spiral notebooks but there’s a great deal on packages of six spiral notebooks. If you bring another mom along, you can both get great deals on your kids’ school supplies and spend less overall.
7. Take advantage of price-matching offers so you can save even more. For example, if you bring in a competitor’s printed ad, Walmart will match the price on the same items it has for sale in its stores.
8. Stock up lunch-making supplies, such as reusable containers and refillable water bottles. Just by having your kid bring lunch to school everyday (as opposed to buying), you can save an additional $500 a year.
9. Use back-to-school deals to stock your kids’ closet. With tons of affordable fashions for kids during back-to-school, you can update your children’s’ wardrobe now so you’ll save yourself from shopping and spending later. Many of the low-priced apparel items you’ll find at Walmart during back-to-school season are basics that your kids will wear throughout the school year.