According to the National Retail Federation, households are forecasted to spend $685 per child on back to school shopping. While this is shocking, back to school doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Doing your research and following a few simple tips can help reduce spending.

There are many tips to remember when preparing for your back to school shopping trip. Be sure to factor everything into your budget. In addition to the usual supplies (pencils, notebooks and binders), you must budget for new clothes, shoes, uniforms, school club membership fees, required technology, lunch costs, etc. It’s important to remember that investing in high quality items can result in a longer usable life and less money spent in the coming years.

Before leaving the house, take inventory of the supplies you already have. Reusing items from years prior reduces unnecessary spending. After taking inventory, create a list of everything you need, and stick to it. Look for coupons online and in the newspaper.

The primary budget breakers include clothing/uniforms, electronics and college textbooks; however, there are many ways to save on these products. Hosting a used uniform sale is a great way to find hand-me-down items and spend less than if you were to buy brand new. Buying clothes at places like Plato’s Closet and avoiding big name brands also reduces spending. Many stores and college bookstores offer student discounts on electronics. Check out those discounts prior to purchasing a new laptop or tablet, and make sure to bring your student ID with you. College textbooks can also be pricey. To avoid spending hundreds of dollars, buy or rent used books. E-books are much cheaper than the physical copy, and can sometimes be easier to use. Chegg.com is a great textbook resource that offers lower prices than college bookstores.

If your state has a tax-free weekend, be sure to do your back to school shopping then and check for special offers that your credit card may have. Little tips like these can add up when it comes to saving money. Stay calm and shop smart. You will be surprised how close you can stay to your budget.


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