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Back to School Savings

Make the Most of Your Back-to-School Budget

5 Tips to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-school time is one of the biggest retail shopping seasons of the year, with the average U.S. family spending hundreds of dollars on clothes, school supplies and other necessities. This year, inflation has driven up projected back-to-school costs by more than 40 percent over 2019 expenditures, according to the National Retail Federation.

In response to rising costs, many families are taking steps to save extra money where they can. With back-to-school time just around the corner, keep these five cost-cutting tips in mind as you equip your kids for the school year ahead!

1. Take inventory

You may be surprised at what you already have on hand and don’t need to buy for back-to-school shopping this year. Before you hit the stores, take inventory. Go through your kids’ clothing, shoes, and supplies to document what they already have that can be crossed off this year’s shopping list. And before shelling out for that new graphing calculator or pair of skates, be sure to consider what can be handed down from an older sibling, cousin, or family friend.

2. Set a budget

Assess which items are mandatory, like the required items on the class supply list, and create a budget based on this list and your inventory. The amount you spent last year can be a great starting point when planning a budget for this year’s back-to-school spending.

3. Finalize your list

With your child’s class list of required supplies in mind, along with your inventory of needed items, make a final shopping list for back-to-school items. Just as important: stick to the list!

4. Start early & compare prices

While there are tons of deals to be had at brick-and-mortar stores, it’s a good idea to compare prices online first to see who may have the best bargain. Prices change throughout the back-to-school shopping season, and you never know which items may go on sale at what time. Maximize your savings by starting your shopping early to catch the best range of deals — but don’t buy everything all at once, as you may find a better price on some items another day.

5. Shop solo

It can be hard enough to stick to your list and stay under budget without kids in tow making last-minute pleas for “must-have” items they discover in-store. If you can, consider leaving the kids at home and handling the shopping on your own to keep impulse buying (and haggling) to a minimum. If your kids are older or have strong preferences about certain purchases, such as clothing, it may be worth including them in some parts of the shopping and handling the more basic supplies in a separate trip by yourself.

The information provided is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation.

Source: National Retail Federation. (2022). Retail Overview. (accessed August 5, 2022)


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