School bells are ringing once again, and that means that it is time to shop for school supplies and school clothes. School shopping can take a big bite out of your budget if you are not careful. The following are some tricks for smart shoppers who want to save money while shopping for back to school items.
Trick #1: Create a budget
Smart shopping includes smart planning. The first thing you need to do is create a school budget. First, look at your income and expenses. Then, decide how much you can afford to spend and on what. Ask yourself, will you spend most of the school budget on clothes or on supplies? Use the school supply list that your child’s school handed out to help you make important purchase decisions. Once the budget is created be sure to stick to it.
Trick #2: Take stock of your stock
Before you race off to the stores to grab those school supplies, be sure to check to see what you already have. Round up those pencils, pens, unused boxes of crayons, and glue. These can be used for the upcoming year. Also, check your child’s closet to see what he or she can and can’t still wear. Clothes that are still wearable and that still looks nice can be worn this school term. Always, always check your closets and left over supplies before going shopping. All smart shoppers know just what they actually need before hitting the stores.
Trick #3: Compare Prices
Price comparison is a vital part of frugal living and smart shopping. By seeing what each store has on sale, you are able to snag the best deal. If you don’t want to drive around from one store to another then select a store that offers price matching. This will allow you to make all of your purchases at one store.
Trick #4: Stock up
Stock up. Stock up while school supplies are at an all time low. Many retailers are offering outrageously low prices on items like pencils, pens, notebook paper, glue, and crayons. Now is the time to stock up on items that your child will need throughout the coming school year. A pack of pencils and a tablet won’t last all year. Buy enough to take you through the school term. It won’t even hurt to buy some for next year. And, remember, school supplies can be donated to your local church, at your child’s school, or given to your child’s teacher as a gift.
Trick #5: Consignment shops or discount stores
Don’t knock it until you try it. Some people may be wary of consignment and second hand shops. Don’t be. You can often find good quality clothes at these shops.
Trick #6: Start Early
Remember the old saying, “The early bird always catches the worm”? This is true with school shopping. Don’t wait until August. Begin setting aside a certain amount each month to go toward supplies. This will help to prevent having a big strain placed on your budget all at once.
If you are unprepared, the cost of back to school shopping can pack a mean punch. Don’t wait until the last minute. Smart shopping means planning ahead. Create a budget and stick to it. Use the tricks listed above and have a more rewarding shopping experience.