Collins Community Credit Union

Back to School Shopping on a Budget

Here are 8 tips to get ready for the new school year without breaking the bank.

Published on Aug 15, 2018

For a lot of parents, this time of year comes with a deep sigh of relief that kids are finally going back to school. At the same time, back to school shopping can cause a lot of stress because of how quickly things can add up.

Whether you’re a parent shopping for your kids, or a college student heading back to campus, here are 8 tips to get ready for the new school year without breaking the bank.

  1. Order what you can online. This well help you to limit buying any additional items that tempt you within the store, AND you can fight the crowds. Both Target and Walmart currently have free 2-day shipping when you spend $35 or more.
  2. Build a list and budget ahead of time. Ask yourself “What can I afford now?”. If you can’t buy all the supplies you need to last you through the year, that’s okay! Purchase what you can now, and restock later.
  3. For adding pieces to your fall wardrobe, check outlet malls and thrift stores first. Thrift stores can be a great option for a new wardrobe (without breaking the bank) for kids since they grow so quickly!  Further, sell to consignment stores, too! Take an inventory of what doesn’t fit you or your child anymore, and get rid of it to have extra money for replacements.
  4. Check what supplies you already have. Some things, like shoes, clothes, notebooks, etc., will probably need to be replaced each year. But chances are you still have some pens/pencils, folders, rulers, etc. that can be recycled into the new year.
  5. Look for high quality when buying the more expensive items. The glitter backpacks with Disney princesses all over them may look cute, but chances are they’ll start to fall apart in the madness that is a school hallway and locker. If you invest in a good backpack, and try to take care of it, you can reuse it for multiple years.
  6. Get staple items (mostly). Try hard to get clothing items you can mix and match with a ton of different outfits, and a few must-have fun items along the way.
  7. Use your Student Discount if you have one! It never hurts to ask if a business provides one, just be sure you have your student ID with you. Here is a list of 100 businesses that provide a student discount.
  8. Cherish the time! While you won’t miss the money pit that back-to-school shopping can often feel like, you will miss these special moments with your kiddos. Before you know it, they won’t absolutely need those glitter pens or your help navigating the aisles. For me, this fall is my last semester of school...perhaps forever. Even I'm thinking “wait…no more school shopping…ever?!!”  Sit back, try to relax, and make it a fun memory.

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