So when do we know that Summer has officially come to an end? Yes, of course, when it’s time to start buying back-to-school supplies. Whether you are a student or a parent, this is a tough time in terms of your finances, because, you do want to stretch that dollar but also want to make sure that you can buy what you or your child really wants.
And, given the increasing prices and ever-changing trends, it’s possible that you will end up with a decent-sized dent in your wallets. According to studies by the National Retail Federation, the total combined spending on back-to-school and back-to-college supplies of American families are expected to reach $83.6 billion this year, with shoppers spending an average of $688. And, guess what, surveys conducted among these parents found that only more than half of them had only completed about 45% of their shopping till now, while 23% have not started at all!
So if you are part of this majority, who are yet to finish rounding up their back-to-school supplies, here are a few tips on how to make the best of the rest of your shopping trips. Read on to save money on back-to-school shopping.
How To Save While Shopping For Back-To-School Supplies
Here are some simple, mindful ways to prevent yourself from overspending on back-to-school supplies:
Know what you already have: The best way to start is by taking stock. Go through what your household already owns and sort things that can still be used, handed down or refurbished to be used in the coming school year. This sounds like an obvious thing to do, but somehow is often overlooked by both parents and children. Once, you know what you have in hand, it puts you in a better position to decide on what you have to buy, and helps you save both money and time.
Make a list: This is the next logical step. And, this is one that will save you so much money. Most often, when you go shopping, you get lured by the beautiful displays and attractive sales posters. This may lead to overspending and also picking up things you don’t really want, just because they’re cheap or on sale. To avoid this, make a list of exactly what you need to buy.
You can use Wallet’s Shopping Lists to have this list handy and in your phone all the time. Cross off things that you buy to stay on track on the go.
Create a budget: We cannot stop telling you how beneficial a budget is when it comes to saving money or spending within your means. By creating a budget, you’re planning your expenses beforehand and minimising the possibility of failing. Each one has a different style of budgeting. One of the easiest ways to do this is by adding up the estimated price for each item on your list and try to stay within this number while shopping.
On Wallet, you can quickly create a back-to-school budget, by creating a Label of your choice and adding it to your budget.
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Research and compare prices: Do you know what the best way to make good decisions is? To be in the know-how of all your options before making a choice. And, this is possible only by research. In this day and age, you don’t even need to step out of your home to research the prices and quality of what you’ll be buying. Go online and compare different stores and have an idea about their offers before you make your purchase. Depending on your preferences and needs, you can get an idea where to shop and what to expect when you go out shopping.
Follow your favourite stores on social media to stay updated of their offers and get special discounts.
Track your purchases: Once you have a list and a budget, this is the third step that will ensure that you do not overspend is tracking your expenses. By using labels in your back-to-school budget, you’ll clearly know where you stand in terms of your budget after each purchase by just adding the respective label to your records. To make this even easier, you could switch on Smart Assistant to remind you to track your spending or use One-Click Tracking to save time on the go.
Also, do not forget to digitise your Loyalty Cards on Wallet so that you don’t miss out on points and rewards while you shop.
Try thrift shopping: Beat the yearly price increases by going low-key in your shopping ways. Thrift shopping is a great way to get a good deal and be socially responsible at the same time. You’d be surprised at the stuff you’ll be able to pick up at these stores. You can also get discounts if you’re handing in your old stuff. Also give other alternatives like cloth swaps and bulk stores a try to reduce cost per item spent.
Buy generic and DIY: It can be tempting for children to buy new and trendy things every year. But as a parent, what might work out cheaper for you is to buy something generic and let them get creative and DIY their things to personalise them. For instance, generic notebooks and folders are much cheaper and adding colours and stickers to it can be turned into a fun activity for kids.
Over to you
It is not too hard to save money. It only calls for a bit of planning, some patience and some smart, yet simple tools like Wallet. So go on, get out and get those back-to-school supplies home! Also, let us know your favourite tips and tricks to save on back-to-school shopping or if any of these tips helped you while shopping. We’d love to hear from you!
Here’s wishing you a great school year ahead!
— BudgetBakers (@budgetbakers) September 1, 2017