Happy parents and begrudging students will be hearing school bells again, some as early as next week. As kids are preparing mentally to go back to school, parents are preparing their wallets for some potentially expensive shopping.
The Wall Street Journal reports an average spending of $604 per child on school materials, which seems outrageous for us Listia shoppers used to getting things for free. To help keep your costs well below the WSJ statistic, we’ve put together seven money-saving tips for your back to school shopping:
- CHECKLIST: Work with your student(s) to make a list of all supplies, clothes, and electronics they need. Here are sample lists to get you started: Grades K-3, Grades 4-10
- WANTS & NEEDS: Have your kids separate their checklists into WANTS and NEEDS. Tackle the must-haves first and set a budget for the wishlist items.
- TAKE INVENTORY: Scour your closets, cabinets and drawers for back to school treasures. Use your checklist to note items you already have, including any surplus.
- TRADE: Try to trade your unwanted or extra supplies for things you need. Host a neighborhood swap, or post your items on Listia (check out supplies up for grabs here).
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Before hitting the stores, check for deals in your Sunday circulars and sites like Coupons.com, Coupon Cabin, CouponMom, and RetailMeNot.
- PRICE MATCH: Save time by shopping a store that price matches like Walmart, Target, BestBuy or Staples (click to see their policies).
- SHOP TAX FREE: Take advantage of Tax Free shopping, if available in your state. Most Tax Free holidays are happening this weekend. For details, check out: http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html and http://singleparents.about.com/od/cuttingcosts/qt/TaxFreeHoliday.htm
Participating states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia
What else does your family do for Back to School savings?