It’s almost that time of the year again when students go back to school and parents need to do some—a lot actually—shopping for school supplies, clothes and shoes. And if your children go to private school, some uniform sets. It’s going to be really expensive even if you are sending your children to public school. But you don’t always need to spend so much. Sometimes, the problem is because of some common mistakes in back-to-school shopping.
This article will teach you how to save on your back-to-school shopping while also discussing the common mistakes everyone makes when shopping for school stuff. Here are some common mistakes that result in overspending while doing your back-to-school shopping.
Shopping without a list
This is the same mistake that happens when you go on a grocery run without a list. You might have popped up in the store to buy a carton of milk but since you are already there and the energy drinks were on sale, so you bought a dozen. And while walking toward the cashier you pass by some detergent powders and you think that maybe you don’t have some at home anymore, so you pick a bag. Before you know it, your grocery cart is already full of items you don’t actually need.
This is the same scenario you should avoid when buying school supplies. Find a workable budget and work within that budget when preparing the list. Don’t forget to consult your children. You are buying school supplies which they will use. They should have a say on the things they will own even if you are paying for them. You can’t force them to wear Batman socks when they are Iron Man fans. That’s like a mortal sin. This might just result in you buying another set of socks, which is the opposite of practical spending.
Don’t shop with your pre-schoolers
While it is imperative that your children will have their own say on their school supplies, you don’t have to take them with you while you shop. This is very, very dangerous. You will be forced to buy things you don’t need to and things you didn’t even know existed.
Using credit cards
Americans are so used to swiping away their expenses that credit cards have almost become part of one’s life. But remember that credit cards that carry balances will be imposed with fees. And if you delay payment, you will be charged with a fine. School items are not surprise expenses. You’ve known for a long time you will have to buy school supplies at the end of summer. So you have time to prepare for it financially. So there is really no need to charge school supplies in your credit card. Pay for them in cash.
Jumping on the retail credit
Sometimes, an offer right in front of us is just so hard to resist. In fact, that’s the reason most stores offer us a good deal while we are in the cashier. We are about to pay for our purchases and the cashier tells you that you can save 10 percent if you avail of the retail credit or even just a rewards card. With people queuing behind you, you are sure to feel the pressure of just answering without thinking about it. A lot of people are prone to say yes just because they are thinking of the savings. But what people always forget is that a retail credit sometimes has a higher interest rate than a regular credit card. So don’t be impulsive about it. Just say no. A rewards card is usually more at your advantage. Usually, reward or membership cards give you points for every purchase you make at the store. But there are just a couple of considerations: Do you go there often to be able to enjoy the rewards? Because chances are you will need to pay for the card. And if you don’t go there often, you may not be able to recover payment for the card.
Now here are some tips in order to save on your back-to-school shopping.
Take advantage of rewards deals / coupons
There are so many back-to-school promos at the tailend of summer. Take advantage of these because it will make a difference. Check out other rewards deals from stores or even credit card companies if they have one. Browse through magazines and newspapers and find coupons that you could avail yourself of when shopping for school items. Sometimes, these promos, rewards and coupons don’t sound like a lot of savings. But if you add all your savings from all these, you’d realize that it actually matters a lot.
Buy the basics at the supermarket
Pens, papers, notebooks—these are all found in the supermarket. So when you do your grocery run, include these items in your cart. This way, you only need one shopping trip. That means saving on gas. Also, stick to the list—this is basically just the opposite of the first item in the above list.
Recycle old supplies
Check out the school supplies from last year. Perhaps your kids still have notebooks that weren’t utilized all the way through. If you think these are still useable, you can upcycle them. Cover the notebooks once again and beautify them with stickers or photos and other materials for collage. The same goes for bags or lunch boxes and other school supplies that can still be recycled and improved.
Get other families together and arrange for a back-to-school swap. You might have old clothes that are still wearable for younger kids, who have older siblings who have clothes that your kids could use. Or you could swap text books. You could save money, they could save money: everybody wins!
Buy for the next season
This is applicable to clothes. If you still have enough money after buying your school supplies, shop in advance for clothes you need for the fall. These will surely be on sale during the summer, the same time you buy the school supplies.
One key here is preparation. You know that every year, at the end of summer, you need to buy school supplies. So before summer starts, you should already start saving.
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