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Staying Savvy with Back to School Shopping

For many families, back to school shopping can be a time of stress and an extra strain on your wallet. Shop smarter, not harder with these budget-friendly tips to check off your supply list. 
A mother and her child school shopping

The first day of school is often an exciting time for students – and for parents, an added stressor and budget buster. In fact, families with K-12 children are expected to spend an average of $789.49 on back to school shopping. At a time when there are so many other challenges to education, finding ways to save money can help make the new school year something everyone looks forward to.

Take stock of what you already have. There’s a lot of pressure on parents to overspend on the newest, latest and greatest things to give your children every possible advantage. But often those supplies end up stashed away in drawers and closets throughout the year. Before buying anything new, take an audit of what you already have. You can even make this a fun family scavenger hunt to spend some time together.

Find the best online deals. Searching online is the best way to check out prices from store to store. From price comparison sites to blog roundups of the best deals, there’s a nearly endless supply of resources to help you get the lowest price quickly. 

Go for generic and make it your own. Brand names and products with trademarked characters come with a much higher price tag. Don’t be afraid to shop generic and customize at home with stickers, patches and paints instead. Not only is it a fun opportunity for your children to express themselves, but it’ll save you some cash as well.

Plan ahead for next year. Just like holiday decorations or Halloween candy, the best times to buy are after the season wraps up. Keep an eye on discounted school supplies in September and October, and stock up on the best deals. To be as efficient as possible, you can even ask your school for the supply list for older grades to get an idea of what your children may need next year.