Last time we covered the ABC's of Back to School. This time, I wanted to share some specific strategies to help you with applying those techniques. 1. If your older child needs one of those expensive graphic calculators, try checking with neighbors and friends first. They may have one that they will give you, let you borrow or at least sell to you at a significantly reduced rate.
2. Check the closet for any clothes that still have tags. As kids get older, they have their own tastes in clothes and sometimes we buy them things that we like that never make it off the hanger. Do an inventory and see if there are any things that still have tags or are barely worn. You may be able to take these back or put them on consignment and recoup some of your money.
3. Wait until AFTER the first day of school to complete your school supply shopping. It's great that the schools have these ready-made lists available at the local stores but let's face it; our kids always come home after the first day needing additional things. Sometimes the things on the list aren't even things you need. Those lists are general guidelines and each teacher is allowed to make adjustments as needed. Waiting to go the first night might require little more planning but then you are getting only what you need.
4. Take advantage of fundraising savings programs. Does your child's group sell gift cards or discount cards? Programs (marching bands do this a lot) often sell gift cards and the child gets credit for the sale on their activity account. The purchaser gets the full face value of the card. You can be your own purchaser. You have to pay the activity fees anyway. Why not purchase a gift card to the grocery store you already frequent and take advantage of the 2-5% bonus you get by planning ahead.
5. Browse the sales papers and tax savings weekends. Leading up to the big back to school days, many retailers have penny sales where you can get crayons, folders, and pencils for literally pennies. Take advantage of those IF those are items you know you will need and then only purchase the minimum other items required to take advantage of that sale (in other words, don't buy $500 of stuff to get a 1 cent box of crayons)
What strategies do you have? Comment below and share with us!