Back to School: Shopping Tips

“Back to School” sales seem to start almost as soon as your kids leave school for the summer. For parents, these sales are one of the best ways to save money and save big. Let’s take a look at some the ways for you to realize savings as you prepare to send your children off to school.

1. Sales –Yes, Back to School sales are still real bargains for parents. The national retail chains such as, WalMart, Target, Sears, JC Penney, and KMart all run sales, as well as do the “pharmacy” chains including: CVS, Walgreens, and Eckerds. The former group of stores are great places to shop for clothing and bookbags while the latter group will feature cut rate school supplies.

2. Dollar Stores – Almost every town across America has the “one dollar” stores where everything is, you guessed it, sold for one dollar. Many of these stores are hit or miss as far as what they carry or what they have available. Some items, even at a dollar, are much more expensive than those found “on sale” at regular retailers.

3. Close Outs – Your kids may protest, but the close out stores — Odd Lots and Big Lots to name two — will carry items your family can use. Sure, the clothing may be way out of style, but lunchboxes, pens, stationary, bookbags, and the like generally are not.

4. Hand Me Downs – Big bro or big sis may have articles of clothing or items they no longer use. If they are gently worn/used consider passing these things on to your younger kids.

5. Garage and Yard Sales – Your child’s lunchbox or calculator may be found at your neighbor’s sale instead of at a retailer. Expect prices to be 50-90% less than full retail.

6. Consignment Shops – Did someone say, Salvation Army? Okay, this is a bit of a stretch. Your kids will probably scream if you take them to a consignment shop, so you can go instead. More than likely what you buy will be for your personal use. Use the money saved to purchase the Nike shoes for your sophomore.

7. Tax Free Weeks – If you live in an area of high sales taxes on clothing, wait for a special “tax free week” to come around to save on purchases. New York City, for instance, is one of the cities with a tax free week. At 8.25%, this particularly high sales tax rate often causes residents to flee the city and drive to New Jersey where there is no tax on clothing. Save on gas, tolls, and time, as well as prop up your local economy by waiting for these special weeks.

There are other ways for you to save money on school supplies including shopping online or by buying in bulk. Back to School shouldn’t mean – back in debt- provided you shop carefully and wisely.


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