Americans will spend over $80 billion getting their kids back to school during the next month. For a majority of us, the weak economy is still dragging down our own personal finances. If this describes you, you’ll want to listen up to these 3 top tips for back to school savings.
The average person with kids from K to grade 12 will spend almost $1,000 per kid. Nowadays most of that is on clothes and electronics, but also traditional supplies. Folks sending kids off to college will spend several thousands of dollars per kid on everything from dorm furnishings to personal care items. In the bigger picture, because the price of all these things have gone up, but our wages have not, everybody is spending more money and a bigger percentage of their income on back to school. But the good news, especially if you have several kids, is that there are some easy ways to cut down those numbers.
Before you even think about hitting the stores, you need to know where you’re going. Your shopping list and budget is your road map to spending less. Without it you’re bound to get lost along the way. Particularly when you’re shopping with kids pulling you in multiple directions – literally and figuratively.
The important thing is to look at your list and budget as an opportunity, not a hassle, to write. Almost 60% of parents today are using times like back to school shopping to discuss money and budgeting with their kids. That’s almost double the amount of folks who had these conversations before!
We all know the catch-22 of shopping at bulk discount stores… to get the discounts you have to buy in bulk. But that’s a win-win when your kids friends need to buy the same back to school stuff too. Forming a little buying cooperative with a few of the parents of your kid’s classmates is very 2016. And it offers an opportunity for both you and your kids to reconnect with folks you haven’t seen since last year and get a jump start for the Fall.
This time of year many states sponsor a sales tax holiday specifically to help families navigate the costs associated with back to school time. Florida’s, for example, runs from August 5 to 7. It covers clothing and footwear as well as certain accessories under $60 per item. School supplies under $15 per item. It does not generally cover books or computers and computer accessories.
We still have time before school actually starts and buying early is a good strategy in general because we all tend to spend more and have less options when we buy under a time crunch. But another strategy is to wait until after school starts to buy things you can hold out for since clearance sales, which generally happen around the end of September, can save you as much as 70%. Happy shopping!