If you have school-aged children, fall typically means back-to-school season, which means spending. From an updated wardrobe to accommodate your growing kids, to school supplies and technology, it’s understandable to seek out ways to save – and we can help. Check out these ideas and tips for preparing your student(s) for the school year without breaking the bank. Even if no one in your home is headed back to school, these tips can apply to any fall purchases, from clothing and boots to household items.
The first tip may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but taking inventory
can result in great savings. Here’s how to get started:
- Clothing: Evaluate what still fits, what can be passed on to another child, and what won’t work for anyone. If still in good condition, items that no longer fit anyone in your household can be taken to your closest consignment shop, which may result in cash back if your items sell. Take stock of footwear and accessories in this manner, too. Utilize what you have available, and capitalize on what won’t work.
- Gear/Supplies: Check backpacks, desks, and closets for any supplies, i.e. lunch bags, pens and pencils, and binders, leftover from last year that can still be used. Don’t overlook these “leftovers,” which can result in significant fall savings.
- Technology: Evaluate your family’s needs with a critical eye. Do you need one computer or more? Do you have a student going off to college who requires a laptop? Only buy what is truly a priority.
Once you take inventory, make a detailed list
of your family’s needs. Before you head to the store, reach out to family, friends, and neighbors who are also preparing to head back to school and host a swap
– what is no longer useful for your family may be useful for another family – or vice versa. After the swap, revise your list to only those items that you still truly need. Stick to your list while you’re doing back-to-school shopping. While it’s easy to sway from your list for just one item, then another, this can quickly lead to overspending.
Your next step should be to determine a strategy
. First, find coupons for items you need through sites such as coupons.com
. Also, compare prices. It might be necessary to shop at more than one store to find the best prices on the items you need. Research sales online before you head to the store to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
- Remember: Unless a school uniform is required, kids can usually wear many summer items for the first few weeks of school before transitioning into the fall season. Then, they can add layers of additional clothing as needed. Take advantage of this extra time and put off additional spending for a few weeks, which can help your household’s cash flow.
- Don’t forget to check out consignment and second-hand shops, especially for trendy pieces, which are usually more expensive but don’t stay in style for very long.
- When purchasing notebooks, binders, and other school supplies, stick with the plain and simple version. Those with specialty characters and themes may cost 20-30% more. Your kids can have fun customizing their own supplies with stickers and other add-ons. Have a back-to-school afternoon, creating unique looks for school supplies and excitement for the new school year.
- Some municipalities/cities offer back-to-school supplies free of charge at local events. Check your local listings for programs near you, which can offer significant fall savings for your family.
Back-to-school time doesn’t mean you need to fall into a spending trap. There are a lot of ways to find the best for less this fall.
And, of course, going back to school can also mean the return of illnesses for your family, as flu season hits and your kids are back in an environment more likely to spread germs. Stay ahead of the game and get your free FamilyWize Prescription Savings Card
to ensure that you’re paying the lowest price on all the prescription medications your family may need.
Download a free card online
today or request a card by calling 1-800-222-2818. You can also get the free FamilyWize app
, available for both Android at the Google Play Store
and Apple Devices (iPhone and iPad) at the App Store