Exciting in some households, dreaded like the plague in others...No matter your families opinion, it is time to start shopping for back to school. According to The National Retail Federation, the average cost of back to school spending for kindergarten through 12th grade is $688, up from $603.63 last year.
In order to help save sanity and finances this season, set a back-to-school budget and plan to stick to it. Many families do so in a number of different ways. Is your family known to be:
"bargain-hunters,” clipping coupons and searching for sales
“one-stop shoppers,” visiting one or two retailers to buy everything they need to save time
“early birds,” shopping as soon as the sales start to get the best selection
No matter how your family describes themselves, most families say they still go over budget every year. It's not crayons and notebooks, but clothing that accounts for the biggest back-to-school expense. Here are a few tips to ensure that you don't go over budget this year!
Gather Supplies You Already Have
Check and see what supplies you have left over from last year. Chances are you will find pencils, paper, and pens that have never been used.
Stick To The List
Only buy supplies that are required by your child's school. You can check the school's website for the list. Stores often have them on the end of aisles as well. Consumer reports also suggests buying folders that are on sale, and not putting out the extra money for ones with characters on them.
Learn Regular Retail Prices
Once you've narrowed down what you need to buy, make a list of regular retail prices so you can confirm when something's really on sale.
Nab the deals
Check Sunday's paper for sales ads or online weekly store ads. Between mid-July and the start of school, many retailers promote notebooks 10 for a dollar, a bag of pencils for a dime, and so forth.
Watch For Special Events
Many stores will offer one-day deals
Shop at Unexpected Places
Consignment shops often have their best merchandise this time of year.
Work The Web
Turn to the internet for special deals and discount codes. You'll also find an endless variety of items your child really needs.
Check out this Back to School budget worksheet to help keep track of regular retail prices and stick to the list.