When vacations are over, it’s that dreaded time of the year when your kids start bugging you for their back to school supplies. When we were young, all we needed was a bag pack, a book and a pencil. Today, a kid’s school supplies includes everything you can think of- pencil, eraser, sharpener, ruler, color pencils, markers, glue, paper clips, at least 3 binders in different colors, scissors, and the list goes on and on.
The problem with purchasing these back to school supplies is that they can be very expensive. Of course, before school starts, you will come across all kinds of sales that entice you to buy school supplies in bulk but not all of them are as good as they seem. This is the time you need to teach your kid the importance of budgeting or they will likely spend their allowance on things they don’t need.
Following are some tips that will help you shop under budget and save for the next year:
1. Make a List
No matter how appealing that sale looks, don’t go for it. If you want to shop under the budget then make a list of things that you “need” to buy. This way you can avoid buying things that your kid already has. Create a checklist and then proceed to the next step:
2. Start Your Shopping At Home
It’s time to go for a hunt – school supplies hunt! You have no idea how many rogue pencils, erasers, color pencils and other supplies you will find lying around in your house. Roam around and see. If you do find a handful of half-used supplies, then it’s time to do a little bit of recycling. Take out all the binders that you have in the house and see if you can tear some pages and make it as brand new.
Collect everything you find and cross the items from the checklist. Add the remaining items on the checklist that you missed and keep them in storage. Once you have an idea about what you need, you can now go shopping.
3. Shop in Office Supply Stores
School supply sales are quite deceiving. They can be expensive because you are forced to buy in bulk. To save money, shop instead in office supply stores, Costco or thrift stores that also sell in bulk, at a discounted price. You can find most of the school supplies here at fairly reasonable rates.
Say you are buying a simple binder in $0.50 and your kid insists that he wants the one with Captain America printed on it that costs $1.50. Instead of giving in to his demands, tell him to pay the extra $1 from his allowance. This way, not only will he learn to save, he will also understand that a generic binder serves the same purpose as a fancy one.
4. Go Online
While buying branded stationery can be quite expensive, you will find several coupon deals on Facebook and twitter when school returns. These deals are quite cheap and allow you to surprise your kid with new and high quality school supplies. The more loyal you are to these brands, the more chances you have of winning their gift coupons.
Kids can create quite a ruckus if their wants are not met. So, try these tips and you will be able to buy generic and branded school supplies, while staying in your budget.