Back-to-school shopping is on the agenda: school supplies and clothes that fit, new shoes and backpacks, maybe even a haircut. Those first couple of weeks back to school can be so fun but also very expensive. It seems that parenting is like that. Here are a few different ways to save some money during this back-to-school season.
Look at What You Have First
It's easy to get caught up in all the advertisements of kids with their unblemished backpacks and unscuffed shoes. But if your child has shoes that fit and a backpack that still supports books and binders, you may not need new ones. As for clothes, take a good look at the closet and count the shirts and bottoms. If you do this, it will be harder to over shop and over spend. If you have an excess of something, or if most of your child's clothes don't fit anymore, consider selling them at a consignment store or online (try eBay or Facebook Marketplace). If you make $20, that could mean two extra shirts for your son or daughter!
Speaking of getting rid of excess school supplies or clothing, consider asking your child if there is anything else in their room that they could part with. Excess bedding and furniture, old posters, and outgrown toys could be consolidated and sold to increase the back-to-school budget. There may even be some other things around the house you could sell to help out, like a food processor you never use or an empty shelf in the garage.
Agree on a Back-to-School Budget
This will especially be good for older children who can understand the financial aspect of life. You could even send them out shopping. Tell them that they need to save receipts and if they come in under budget, they can keep the leftover money. Encourage them to purchase quality products, but not to go overboard.
Make Everything You Can
Admittedly, this may be easier for girls since things like new jewelry, hair accessories, even skirts and dresses can be easily made by a trip to the craft store (thrift and antique stores often have fabric, buttons, and embellishments that will make this endeavor less expensive and more unique.) Grab a large roll of leather string and cut it to the length you desire. Add a charm (consider found objects such as rocks or shells). With a little sewing know-how, you could even take a shirt that is way too big (and maybe on the clearance shelf) and make it into a beautiful tunic (check out this how-to!).
Know What You Need to Spend Money On
Depending on the age of your child, backpacks and shoes are a couple of things that really need to be good quality. A cheap backpack will fall apart before the school year is over, so if you can't swing a new one just yet, hold off for a few weeks and maybe you'll find one on clearance after the school year begins.
On that Note, Wait
We know that it may not be a popular decision, but waiting to buy certain things can save some big bucks. Some things are definitely cheaper right now (most school supplies are discounted), but things like clothes will probably be easier to acquire at a lower price over the next few months.
We know that back-to-school shopping can be stressful, but we encourage you to look for the fun in it. It does not have to take every penny you have. With a little patience and a little handywork, you could cut your back-to-school spending way down.