Parents are expected to spend about $83.6 billion this year to send their kids back to school; a 10% increase from last year, according to the National Retail Foundation. Back to school items such as clothes, school supplies and electronics can be a huge expense, not to mention back to school meals.
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Ways to save on back-to-school:
- Repurpose: Items like scissors and rulers can withstand many school years.
- Splurge and scrimp: You may want to splurge on a few items that are important to your kids, like a cool new backpack or high-end calculator. Then scrimp on everything else, opting for low-price and store brand glue sticks, binders and markers.
- Wants vs needs: It’s smart to stick to the list and avoid impulse purchases on unnecessary items. Give your kids what they need rather than what they want.
- Price hunt: Pick from numerous apps that track prices on costly electronics to ensure you’re getting the best value.
- Hold off: Put off purchases on pricey items until after Labor Day when retailers hold sales after the rush is over. Sign up for emails and check social media pages of your kids’ favorite brands, then make your purchases when you find a good deal.
- Avoid sales tax: Many states offer a tax-free weekend to help parents save money on back to school. Look online to see if your state participates, and take advantage of the savings.
- Secondhand retail: Clothing swaps are a smart choice for parents looking to exchange gently used clothing. Secondhand shops such as Craigslist and eBay are also good options.
- A learning opportunity: Give your kids a back-to-school budget. They’ll learn an important lesson about budgeting.