Back to School Saving

10-to-13-year-old going shoppingAugust is coming up fast.  Are you ready for the new school year?  Whether you’re a college student buying textbooks and sweatpants for class or a parent shopping for your children, there are many ways to save on this year’s back-to-school list.  Here are some steps you can take to get the most out of your shopping experience.

  1. Take inventory of what you already have.  Before you even begin to shop, check what you already have.  This is an opportunity to clean out your closet, make a comprehensive list, and even make a little cash.  Go through all your clothing and supplies to see what can be used in the coming school year.  Any clothing that doesn’t fit or is not wanted anymore can be taken to a resale store to hopefully earn a little extra pocket change.
  2. Create cash envelopes by category or child.  Using cash is a way to guarantee that you won’t go over budget.  If you are a parent, you can set aside a certain amount of cash in each envelope for each of your children.  This will ensure that you don’t over spend.  If your children are older, you can let them use the money allotted in their envelope to choose new clothing and accessories while also teaching the valuable lesson of budgeting.  If you are a college student, you may want to separate envelopes by categories such as clothing and school supplies.  This will help you decide what you really need and what may be unnecessary (such as that pack of 64 colored pens)
  3. Focus on the basics first.  It may be easy to stock up on shorts and t-shirts during the back-to-school summer months, but remember that you have more seasons on the way.  Try to buy basics, such as a sturdy sweater, jeans, a warm coat, pants, shorts, and shirts in basic colors before buying the seasonal items.  It’s cheaper to dress up basics with less expensive, seasonal accessories than to buy an entirely new wardrobe each season.
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