5 Tips From a Frugal-Minded Mom During Back-To-School Season
I have procrastinated, I’ll admit it. In less than 72 hours my oldest child starts kindergarten. I do have most of what she’ll need to start the year, but not everything. Picking up shoes and markers are on my to-do list.
I’ll admit it because I’m certain that I am not alone. Many of us have put off finishing up, or even starting, back-to-school shopping and now we’re down to the wire. Even with a time crunch on our hands, there are ways to save on school supplies and school clothes.
Shop your house first. Before you panic that you don’t have anything ready, take an hour and go through your house. Find last year’s backpack, reusable plastic folders and pencil boxes, calculators, flash drives and clothes. Check as much off your shopping list as you can based solely on what you already have.
Price compare. If you want to make one stop and buy everything on your child’s school supply list, you want to go to the store with the best prices, right? But, which one is that? Every week through Labor Day you can find a current school supply price comparison list that lays out prices on 40+ items at 10 national retail chains. (I heard that sigh of relief).
Buy online. You still have time to buy clothes online and doing so might save you some money. Not only will you avoid lugging kids to the mall – which will probably save you money right there – but you can make your purchase through a cash back site like Ebates.com or MrRebates.com. On top of sales and coupon codes, you can earn a percentage of what you spend back in an automatic rebate.
Wait. Retailers know that parents will fork over the money to buy clothes for their kids right now. The sales are just good enough to lure you into the store, but are far from amazing. Wait for post-Labor Day sales to buy the bulk of your new fall and winter attire.
Go the used route. Facebook and Twitter have made it easy to swap clothes with friends. Post the sizes you need and offer to giveaway the sizes your kids have outgrown. Websites like ThredUp.com facilitate gently used clothing swaps for a reasonable fee.
We’ll all get through the last-minute rush of this back-to-school season. Next year though, remember that July is the best time to buy what you need. School supplies are on sale at their best prices and most retailers have clothes on summer clearance.
Am I the only procrastinator? When do your kids start back to school and how much do you have left to do?