The back to school madness is underway and we are all looking for ways to cut costs this time of year. Expectations run high, there are new book bags, sneakers, clothing, school supplies, and lunch supplies. The list can be long and expensive. BUT, let's not worry about what others are doing or what the kids expect. In my books, it is better to teach frugality and a reduced waste approach through re-using and recycling. Let's teach our children that they do not need NEW everything, there are so many items that can be re-used and recycled from previous years.
Our plan of attack when it comes to getting the best bang for our buck includes a few steps, which I have listed below. By being organized and planning ahead, you can save yourself both time and money. Check out all the tips and details of how we shop for the Best Back To School Savings.
Each year we tackle the Back To School Shopping using these steps:
- Use What We Already Have - We go through what we have at home. Reusing whatever we can is the best way to save!
- School Supply Lists -By placing any school supplies in a box, we can get them collected for sorting and filling those supply lists. If you have multiple children, this method is easiest. Once sorted you can make a list of what else you need to purchase.
- Book Bags - Can you reuse the one from last year? We tend to buy a plain good quality bag and simply add accessories that personalize the bag. (pins, key chains, patches, etc.) This allows us to change the characters/theme of the bag and use multiple years.
- Lunch Items - Then we round up lunch bags, containers, and water bottles. Decide what is still usable and what needs to be tossed or replaced. Plain coloured items are best for using multiple years as well, although I tend to let my children decide if they want a "special" lunch bag.
- Clothing & Footwear - We usually buy only what is NEEDED. We start by sorting clothing into 3 piles. (1. Too small 2. Worn Out and 3. Keep Wearing) Temperatures are changing this time of year, so new footwear, jackets or sweaters and pants are likely on the shopping list. Most children grow out of their basics over summer and need some replacing. We tend to do clothes shopping as needed, instead of a complete wardrobe re-haul for back to school. Besides, everything will go on sale even more just after school starts (overstock clearances).
- Computers- If your child has or needs a computer, determine if it is up to date and that they have what they need to use it. Memory sticks, printer, and paper, etc...
- Make A List - The next step is to make a list of what we do not already have. I usually put all items for each child separate, so I know who needs what (especially important in the clothing category).
- Search For Deals - Here's the fun, or maybe not so fun part! Watch for sales in the flyers and try to get the best deals on the items you need.
(Helpful Apps Include: Reebee, Flyerify, Flipp and more.
- Shop With A Budget (use cash only) – It takes a well-planned shop to stay on budget, but it can be done. If you plan out your shopping properly, you can stretch out the shopping over a few pay periods and make Back to School shopping more affordable. Using Cash Only makes it easier to follow your list and stay on track.
Looking for more savings tips?
~ 8 Ways To Save On Books
~ 6 Simple Steps to Save More This Year
~ Price Matching Like A Pro
~ Couponing 101
We have a library of more articles on various savings strategies here.