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     Summer is winding down and
kids are preparing to start a new school year. This signifies an exciting
new start for kids but for parents, it can mean spending a lot of money
on school supplies and new clothing for fall. Families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average of $696.70 this year on back-to-school shopping. (National Retail Federation) That’s a lot of money, especially for parents of multiple children. How can you buy the items your kids need without breaking the bank on back-to-school shopping? Here are some ways to save.
      DON’T BREAK THE BANK
BACK TO SCHOOL
ON
BY SARAH LYONS
TAKE INVENTORY
It doesn’t make sense to purchase items you already have around the house. “We reuse items like notebooks, binders, and pencil boxes.” says Carrie Miller, mom of three. “I also save all the pencils from class parties, birthday parties and other giveaways to use the following year.” Before you start back-to-school shopping, take inventory of what office and school supplies
you already have that are new or gently used. Go through the kids closets and remove items that are two small and make a list of what needs to be replaced. Can any items be passed down to younger siblings? Consider shopping
at second-hand stores or consignment sales for gently used items to save on clothes, shoes and coats. Backpacks and lunchboxes that are in good condition can be reused. Once you know what you need, make a list of what needs to be purchased and stick to it.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
It’s hard to know if you are getting a good deal on back-to-school supplies and clothing if you do
know how much they cost to begin with. Once you know the average cost of an item it is easier to do your research and make sure you are getting a good deal. It can be easy to get caught up on saving on small items like glue and pencils but it is wiser to focus on big ticket items which can mean more money saved. Saving $50-100 on a tablet is worth the effort of driving across town to shop compared to saving 10 cents on glue. “Shop around!” says Emily Rodriguez. “Last year I added all the items needed to my online cart at Walmart, Amazon and Target. I was surprised Target came out well under the other two. I was glad to save the money.”
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DISCOUNTS
For retailers, back-to-school season is
the biggest money maker, second only to
the Christmas shopping season. To bring in customers they are willing to offer discounts, free shipping for online orders, price matching, in-store coupons, and other deals to get you to shop in their stores. Take some time to shop around and find the best deals, sign up for email coupons and deals, and most importantly, don’t
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