Back to school time can be expensive. According to a 2015 study by American Express Spending & Savings Tracker, parents are likely to spend over $1000 on back to school expenses. Many schools have extensive school supply lists and some even request specific brand names. Kids need new backpacks and lunch boxes. Kids need new school clothes. Kids may be signed up for fall sports or other extracurricular activities which inevitably have fees.
Here are some tips for keeping expenses in budget:
- Consider consignment shopping whenever possible. There are consignment shops such as Once Upon a Child (locations in Centerville, Huber Heights and Beavercreek) and Kidz Again (Centerville). There are also a bunch of Mom’s Sales to check out. Think of a cross between a consignment shop & a garage sale, and you’ll have a Mom’s sale. Here are a few upcoming sales:
- Be strategic about Ohio’s tax-free weekend! Plan what you need and research what sales will meet those needs. Do not spend just because there is a sale! The holiday starts on Friday, August 5, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. and ends on Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. During this time only, you can buy certain items and not pay any sales or use tax. The following items qualify for tax-free purchase:
- An item of clothing priced at $75 or less
- An item of school supplies priced at $20 or less
- An item of school instructional material priced at $20 or less
- Look for SALES! There are many stores who have a handful of items on very reduced prices for a week at a time. Sales have already started! Office Depot, for example, has a few items for a penny each with the requirement that your total purchase is at least $5. If you can check out sale ads on a Sunday and stop by whatever store has items on sale and stock up, that will help tremendously.
- Use what you have! Take inventory of leftover items for last year; some may be reused, like pens and pencils. Assessing what you already own beforehand helps avoid buying unnecessary items.
- If needed, Ask For Help! There are many churches and non-profit organizations who do drives for school supplies each year and distribute the school supplies to families in need. Hannah’s Treasure Chest is an amazing organization who may be able to help or get families connected to assistance.
What are your tips for saving money on back to school?