10 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American household spends $688 on back-to-school shopping — 64% of it is spent on clothing and electronics. Here are a 10 ways to save this fall and throughout the year.

1. Create a checklist of items and stick to it.
Most schools send out lists of items your child will need in the classroom. Keep this list handy and stick to only what’s needed–marking things off as you go. Also think about things you can easily restock as the year goes on–this will help prevent buying too much of an item they won’t use often.

2. Reuse and reduce.
There’s bound to be useful school supplies from previous years. Before you begin shopping, empty your kids’ backpacks to see what was they have left over. Check these off your supplies lists before you go to the store to reduce overbuying supplies.

3. Consider shopping without the kids.
They’re more likely to fall for the strategically placed items stores are trying to up-sell. Backpacks and notepads with your kids’ favorite superhero or cartoon character are frequently more expensive than generic kinds. A budget-friendly way to get their favorite heroes: buy a pack of stickers and let them have fun decorating supplies themselves!

4. Comparison shop online before going into stores.
Many times prices vary, or stores are doing online offers for back-to-school shopping. You might also save time, and stress, by knowing exactly what you need in stores, and having the rest shipped to your door.

5. Give your kids a clothing budget and a list of necessities.
You decide what items they must have first, then give them some options where they can choose items with the remaining money. This also helps give them a little exercise in budgeting, while letting them help with the shopping.

6. Set up e-mail alerts for sales. 
Websites like Dealnews.com, Bensbargains.com, and thekrazycouponlady.com will let you know when coupons or great deals are available for specific items.

7. Buy school supplies in bulk.
For items you know you’ll need frequently, this is a useful option. Although you’ll have a large initial expense, in the long run the supplies will be cheaper and you’ll have them on hand for several months.

8. Follow your favorite stores and brands on social media.
You’ll be one of the first to find out when they’re offering deals and special promotions.

9. Go to Garage and Yard sales for clothing.
Websites like Garagesalestracker.com, yardsalesearch.com, and Craigslist.org are great online resources for finding bargains in your area.

10. Wait until August or September to buy your school supplies.
Many stores do back-to-school shopping deals, but even more will put their extra supplies on sale after the majority of shoppers are done. While they’re trying to clear out extra inventory, you’re saving more money!

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