Back to School Savings 2019

And we are off! With Amazon’s launch of the “Happy School Year” store on Monday, July 1, back-to-school shopping commenced even though we are not even halfway through the summer. The good news is that starting early is a great way to spread the cost of heading back to school over a larger period of time. It also allows us more time to comparison shop and find the best deals.

According to RetailMeNot, an online savings website, parents plan to spend an average of $507 this shopping season. That is up from $465 last year. So, we are putting together this quick guide to highlight ways to save money on back to school expenses.  


Picture of back to school supplies, shoes, backpack, electronics

Supplies

Typically, you’ll find the best deals on school supplies like paper, notebooks, pencils, glue, etc. at big box stores. Wal-Mart and Target are two prime examples. Office supply stores may seem like the logical place to go but check prices first. People often spend more in these locations.

Amazon may be another place to purchase these supplies but be prepared to buy in bulk to get a good deal. For example, you can purchase a box of 150 #2 pencils for $12.49 (just over 8 cents a pencil). Our best advice is to go online, compare the costs at multiple stores and buy based on what you need.


Picture of woman shopping at a thrift store back to school

Clothing

  • Set a budget. The idea is to stick to it, but we have found that just setting a budget creates more awareness around spending.
  • Take inventory. What do you have? What are you missing?
  • Make a list and use it while you are shopping. It is easy to get sidelined by deals and cute items. Having a list can help you stay on track and avoid impulse buying.
  • Shop online to find deals. This does not mean avoid the store altogether, but it gives you an idea of who has the best prices and is carrying the items you need to get.
  • If you are shopping online, avoid shipping charges. Check out sites such as retailmenot.com to find coupons for free shipping. Also, keep checking the store websites for special events that offer free shipping.
  • Consider shopping thrift or consignment stores. These can be great places to find good clothes at a steep discount. Be careful though because items like socks, underwear and tee shirts are often just as inexpensive at stores such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Picture of back to school electronics

Technology

Many companies offer discounts for students.  These are often called educational discounts, student discounts or education pricing. Apple, Adobe, Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, Sony and Norton all have programs to help students save. College students can typically access discounts through their school store website as well.

As with anything, it pays to comparison shop for the best deal. Don’t assume that the student discount is getting you the best deal.

One idea for saving money on technology is upgrading a system. Add RAM, install a new graphics card or get a faster, bigger storage drive.

If the idea of upgrading a system is not your speed, you might consider a used computer. This is bit risky but can result in substantial savings. This article from Discount Computer Depot outlines 15 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Refurbished Computer.


Picture of colored pencils

Other

We mentioned it above and it bears mentioning again. Comparison shop. Use the internet, newspaper flyers and television commercials to find the best deals.

Try to avoid buying sale items with a credit card. If you do use a credit card, have a plan for paying that card off, in full, before interest is accrued. No one wants to buy more school supplies next year, when you are still paying for the prior year’s purchases.

American Financial Solutions, a non-profit credit counseling agency, offers solutions for getting out of debt along with budgeting tips to help you reach your financial goals. You can find us at www.americanfinancialsolutions.org or by calling 888-818-5037. Call us today!