With back to school fast approaching, many parents are madly scraping together their last savings to buy school supplies for their kiddies. With only weeks to go until the new school season starts merchants across the country are preparing themselves for a busy season. Soaring expenses and a dismal economy will assure that suppliers with discount offers get the brunt of the business, while larger stores with fixed prices will likely suffer.
If you are a parent with not just one, but several kids in school it is important to stretch your dollar for all it’s worth. I’m sure you are already scrambling for ideas to save money for when you buy your back to school supplies. Thankfully here are some great tips to help you shop with confidence without missing out on the essentials.
Make it fun: Any shopping trip that turns into an event of misery is a wasted experience, so why not turn it into a fun trip? When you buy school supplies for your children it is a great opportunity to take them along with you for some free financial education. You can help them understand the cost of life, why they can’t always have what they want, and how to make their dollars stretch by showing them real life examples and comparisons.
By teaching your kids about money from a small age they will gain a better understanding of how to handle their finances as they grow up.
Never leave your home without a list: The biggest mistake most people make when they buy back to school items is to leave the house without a detailed shopping list. Keep in mind that most suppliers would want you to buy extra stuff, stuff you don’t really need.
It’s easy to fall off your self-imposed budget when ridiculous savings stare you in the face at the shops. So you grab a cheap offer here, and another one there and soon enough you would have spent an extra $100. Avoid this scenario by making a shopping list and sticking to it!
Buy second hand: You can by your text books and other school necessities from other, older students. There is nothing bad in buying your books from an older student. It’s a bit like handing down clothes. Everybody does it, so why not extend your savings to buying second hand school supplies if they apply to your kid’s classes? The one thing you want to do before you buy second hand is to check whether the school allows older editions in their classrooms. Some schools might object to this in which case you will have to buy new.
Shop smart: Before you leave home take some time to score the Internet and local newspapers for some great savings vouchers. Many retailers offer additional savings for back to school season to give you even more value for your money.
Spending a bit of time to look for special deals can save you a lot of money.
Consider shopping at discount stores: Discount stores have popped up around the country, especially since we have been recession riddled, in desperate need of some bargain buys. Many of these stores offer you a set of school supplies for the one price; you can buy notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators, rules, and more all for one low price.
Stick to your budget: It’s easy to get tempted to buy more than you can afford. Unfortunately you are asking for trouble if you go above your budget, especially if you can’t afford much in the first place. Consider buying in bulk with some friends if money is tight. If ten of you buy bulk school supplies you will be able to save some hard cash. Then you simply divide the stuff between all of you.
In closing: Please don’t let the back to school season be a time for tears, and stress. With a bit of planning you should be able to kit out your kids with all they need to start the new school season like an old pro. Achieving the impossible with little funds will make the proudest parents feel like a million dollars when their little ones leave home with a rucksack crammed full of goodies.
This article was written by Timothy Ng who is a regular writer and part of the team at Credit Card Finder, a 100% free Australian credit card comparison and application service. Visit the Credit Card Finder website for more information on the available Frequent Flyer Credit Cards, or subscribe to their RSS feed for more practical articles.