August is the time of year when prices begin to plummet on back-to-school items ranging from clothing and homework supplies to dorm room decorations and book bags. Make sure you get the most for your money by using these seasonal shopping tips. (See also: 8 Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Shopping)
Think Ahead for the Holidays It can pay to remember that back-to-school season isn’t the only time of year you’ll need to restock your child’s school supplies. A few new erasers, colored pencils and some fun new assignment notebooks make great children’s Christmas gifts, as do the themed activity books and art supplies that tend to be discounted during the month of August.
Score Amazing Deals on Amazon The online retailer tends to do a stellar job at dishing out seasonal savings, so paying special attention to their daily deal offerings during back-to-school season is a good way to stay on top financially. For even greater savings, consider their Prime membership which provides free shipping on a large number of items, a free monthly book for your Kindle Fire and access to a selection of free streaming videos.
Shop for Superior Sock Bargains It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of buying in bulk, and staples like socks are no exception. Typically, socks are designed to accommodate a range of shoe sizes, making the multi-packs a great solution for families with multiple kiddos going back to school. Also, if you and your little boo have a similar foot size, you get to share in the back-to-school bounty as well.
Consider Alternative Venues Office box stores and department retailers may be the ones sending out the most mail flyers to at-home shoppers, but they are far from the only school supply game in town. For example, buying school supplies at Dollar Tree provides access to great deals on everything from zippered pencil cases and crayons to rulers, loose leaf paper and skill practice books. (See also: 6 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Basics)
Diversify Your Reasons for Restocking Just because the August sales are designed to target the parents of returning students doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of them for other reasons such as saving money on business expenses such as office supplies. You can also use the sale opportunities to score savings on things such as wardrobe updates, rolling duffels and foot lockers for storage and travel or even room organizers made available for the college crowd.
Teacher Support in the Form of Classroom Donations Individual student supplies usually aren’t the only requested items on those teacher supply lists the school hands out. There are a number of inexpensive classroom supplies that drop in price at this time of year. File folders, page protectors and craft sticks are certainly among the most frequently used by elementary teachers, but there are other items as well. How Much Really Needs to Be New?
More on School and Savings
It’s easy to get caught up in new clothing overload and replace everything including the back-to-school equivalent of the kitchen sink. If you stop and think about it however, who says everything has to be new for the first day of school? One of the reasons I love denim is the fact that it stays looking sophisticated for a long time, especially when paired with well-shined shoes, a new tee shirt and a stylish scarf. By going with new socks, a couple of fresh tops and a vintage scarf and hat from your favorite thrift store, you can have your young one looking chic for high school or her first fall at college. Young men can jazz up a pair of jeans with a nice black sweater and the same color of shoes. To be honest, it’s a look that works for adults too. Depending on the choice of footwear, women can even pull this outfit off for style on a dime.
Consider Your At-Home Needs The classroom isn’t the only place your children need to use school supplies. Their at-home study stations need to be stocked as well with everything from index cards and highlighters to poster paper and colored pencils.
What about you? What are your favorite back-to-school shopping secrets for keeping the family budget on track?
A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.