Save Money on Back-To-School Shopping With These 12 Tips

Notebooks and pens laying on a desk.
There are several ways to make sure you’re not overpaying for school supplies every year. Photo from Pexels

This year’s back-to-school season looks more normal than last year — thankfully! However, what’s not normal is the cost of all the supplies your kids will need for their reading, writing and arithmetic.

If you’ve taken a trip to the grocery store or gas station lately, then you’ve noticed that the price of everything has gone up. Which means that with the start of the school year just around the corner, back-to-school supplies could be more expensive than ever.

That’s why I’m sharing 12 money-saving tips to help you save big on your back-to-school shopping. As a mom of two teens, I’ve used each of these tips with great success over the years. So whether you utilize one tip or all of them, they’ll help you get your kids the supplies they need without breaking the bank.

Bring a school supply list when shopping and buy just what’s on it.

By using the list as a guide, you will fill your cart with what your kids need as opposed to what they want. Check your school’s website for supply lists or bring the one sent directly from your child’s teacher.

Pay close attention to each store’s weekly sales flyer.

Whether you view it online or simply grab the store flyer when you walk in, the flyer showcases the best deals. Stores advertise deeply discounted items, such as 25 cent boxes of crayons, to lure you in.

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Try not to do all your shopping in one store.

If you shop in just one store, you’ll get a bargain on some things, such as those 25 cent crayons, but you may pay full price for other things simply because you are already there.

Shop at different types of stores.

Each kind will have different items on sale. School supplies can be found at grocery stores, superstores, dollar stores and office supply stores, as well as online.

Check apps for each store or follow them on social media.

Most stores will offer digital or printable coupons or a discount code that you can use to save at checkout. It only takes a few seconds to check.

Stock up on good deals.

If you find an item that’s an amazing price and definitely something your kids will use, then go ahead and stock up! One year I found lined notebooks for 17 cents. I bought ten, even though my kids only needed a couple that year. I knew I would probably not find a lower price and my kids would always need notebooks. That stash of 17 cent notebooks lasted us several back-to-school seasons.

Don’t forget to shop what you have at home first.

Find last year’s haul of notebooks (or pens or highlighters, etc.) that you got at an unbelievable price. Or perhaps your child was required to have colored pencils for a class last year, but she never even took them out of the box. They’ll still work great this year.

Buy generic or store brand items vs. name brand.

When my daughter needed plastic folders with fasteners one year, I noticed that the generic version cost 50 cents compared to $1.99 for the name brand. Buying generic was a no-brainer, especially since my daughter needed five of them for different subjects. That said, a teacher once told me that when it comes to pencils, it is worth it to buy the name brand. She shared that generic pencils splinter and crack like crazy and never make it through the whole school year. So spend a little bit more on the name brand pencils to avoid a late night run to the store in, say, March when the generic ones don’t last!

Try to stay away from licensed merchandise.

The items with a cartoon character or a rock star adorning them usually cost more simply because you’re paying for that image to appear on them.

Go back-to-school shopping without the kids tagging along.

That way you’ll avoid the inevitable pleading for items that are trendy or cool, but probably aren’t needed.

Don’t shop in-store when you or your children are hungry.

Otherwise, all the effort you put into getting great deals will be blown on that bag of chips and candy bar that your kids (or you) just had to have at the checkout.

By utilizing these money-saving tips, you won’t get schooled by back to school shopping. Here’s to a great school year!