CONSIDER THIS: Even though we’re in the midst of summer, back-to-school shopping sales have already begun.
According to the National Retail Federation and Research Now, back-to-school shopping is the second largest consumer spending category after holiday shopping. A recent survey conducted by Deloitte found 32 percent of families expect to spend more on school supplies this coming year—because their children need more items, items are increasing in price, or students need more expensive supplies.
In a 2016 National Retail Federation survey, the average family spends about $107.76 on school supplies. Combined with other expenses—such as clothing and accessories, electronics, and shoes—a family could easily spend an average of $674.
But back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be a budget buster. Here are some ways to shop smart during back-to-school season:
Budget Back-to-School Shopping Expenses: When compiling your household budget for the year, make sure to include back-to-school as a line item. Calculate what each of your children might need during the entire school year. Divide that amount by 12 and begin sending the monthly amount to a special savings account. When back-to-school time rolls around, you’ll be ready with the funds you need.
Timing Matters: Look for end-of-summer sales, maybe even after school has started. Shoppers who wait until the end of summer are likely to spend less than those who shop more than a month before school starts.
Take Stock: Before shopping—either at the store or online—see what you have on stock. Don’t purchase unnecessary items. Then make a list of what your kids need; this helps to avoid impulse buys.
Avoid Fancy Supplies: Instead of spending money on the brightest, shiniest supplies with a licensed logo that just adds to the cost, make them DIY art projects for your kids to decorate.
Use Technology: Do an online coupon search. Monitor your favorite stores’ social media accounts and sign up for coupon links and advance notice of sales.
Stock Up: If you see a good deal on supplies you know will be an ongoing need, stock up so you’re ready when something runs out, gets lost or breaks.