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More Bang For Your Back To School Buck

More Bang For Your Back To School Buck

For most parents out there, the end of August means we will be spending a lot of time hitting the stores scrambling for backpacks, folders, and the perfect first day of school outfit for our children.  Last year the U.S. Census Bureau reported that $7.5 billion was spent by consumers in family clothing stores.  Sales at bookstores were up as well, totaling a whopping $2.3 billion in August of 2007.

 

It seems though, this year back-to-school shoppers will be looking for the bargains and pinching their pennies more than ever.  A recent article from the Miami Herald offers some helpful tips from money experts and parents in the know on how to save a few bucks as you ready yourself for the new school year.

 

One seemingly obvious, but often overlooked tip they offer is to take inventory of what you already have before leaving to shop.  If that old backpack you have can tough it out one more year then there is no need to purchase another one.

 

As a way to avoid “impulse shopping” the article advises to make a list and stick to it.  It is when you walk around aimlessly in a store that you end up spending the most money as well as making unneeded purchases.  Also, shopping in second hand stores or hitting the weekend yard sale may prove to be a very thrifty alternative to department stores.

 

And for the organized-at-heart, it is advised that you shop year round in order to get the best deals.  Buying things like folders, pencils, and paper year round will also keep you ready for any early morning surprises when your child lets you know they need some extra supplies.

 

For the parents whose kids are off to college, the article suggests you take an active role in their textbook shopping.  A lot of students and parents are shocked the first time they get their textbook list and see the extremely high prices.  If you can buy a used book, definitely do it.  If the school’s store does not offer them, there are many websites that sell used textbooks.

 

What do you think of some of the tips offered above for back to school shopping?

 

Do you have any secrets on how to save this August?

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  • scatteredpearl By scatteredpearl
    08.18.08  

    Check out the local sales. There is a store that is offering 2 different school supplies each week for free. They do have a limit, but pencils, pens, folders, notebooks, rulers, glue and even crayons and color pencils for a penny or less is a great deal.

    You do have to balance fuel prices in as well though. I can't drive to this store weekly so I'm pretty much SOL.

  • voyager1 By voyager1
    08.19.08  

    Save school supplies each year. Don't throw away that ruler or binder just because it has already been used once. If it's in good shape, keep it and use it again next school year. Also, keeping colors, map pencils, and so forth from the previous year will come in handy in the middle of the next when supplies start to dwindle.

  • brandy915 By brandy915
    08.19.08  

    Walmart offers competitor pricing. Instead of going from store to store, I just get all sale ads from competitors like Kmart, Target, and the grocery stores and if they have anything on sale in their ad you can get the same item at walmart for the competion's price. (When you get to the check out just tell them what store and what the price is.) Thats less you have to spend on gas.

  • rosevillemommy By rosevillemommy
    08.19.08  

    I always buy one size (sometimes more) ahead when Old Navy, JcPennys, etc have their clothing on 90% off. I have saved a TON of money by doing this. I also use coupons religiously. I try to use coupons with sale prices too. My son has clothes up to a size 14/16, and if he doesnt fit it in the right season I know my little guy will. This year I spent $150 on clothes (including socks, underwear, shoes, clothes for summer and winter) and I got him a new backpack (the other ones plastic ripped) on toys r us's website and it came with a free lunch box.

  • brewerfan By brewerfan
    08.19.08  

    Ass far as buying college textbooks goes we have done several routes. We always buy used books and Amazon.com, half.com and some other websites are good for this if you get your textbook list in time. This year my two adult kids are not going to buy their books till they actually go to class. The last couple semesters they have bought books on the lists only to never have even opened them in their classes.

  • AKCHILLY1 By AKCHILLY1
    08.19.08  

    My son's school gives the school supply list when they get out of school so you can buy the supplies little by little when they are on sale instead of waiting til the last week until school starts.

    Also the supplies that they used during the school year is sent home in June. Sometimes you dont have to buy another scissor or another white board if the one they have is in good condition.

  • agsuitt By agsuitt
    08.20.08  

    Check sites like craigslist or see if your city has a freecycle type group. Lots of people (especially college students in my area) give away school supplies at the end of the school year. Also, check your local thrift shops for binders that people have donated.

  • mandyspeaking By mandyspeaking
    08.20.08  

    you don't need to biy all your school clothes at once. The weather here will permit short sleeves and Jeans until mid October. Wait to get sweaters until then. They will be marked down in October anyway.

  • the_royalfamily By the_royalfamily
    08.20.08  

    Yes when you walk around aimlessly during any kind of shopping you tent to spend more... I have a hard time not doing this because sometimes I just need to walk around a store to unstress LOL My only tip is watch for sales and coupons!!!

  • indy4060 By indy4060
    08.20.08  

    End of season closeouts are a great way to save on clothing, especially on items that you know they will wear, such as jeans, t-shirts, etc. Also, going to consignment shops is a great way to save some money too.

    We have found some great buys at garage sales. Some of the clothes still have the tags on them.

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