Thursday, July 24, 2008

Can We Skip Back-to-School Shopping? 3 Reasons to Cut Spending

It's a ritual. Back-to-school shopping is an annual event that costs us millions of dollars each year. But is it really necessary? Do we really need to buy so much stuff? Here are three reasons to cut or delay back-to-school spending:

1) Overstuffed backpacks. Over the years, I have purchased rulers, glue sticks, scientific calculators, compasses, notebooks and markers that my kids have barely used. In some cases, the items are not touched during the school year. That's because not every item on the back-to-school shopping list is really used or needed. My new strategy: Wait until the item is really needed for classroom assignments. Talk to other parents and teachers about what supplies are essential. I've actually had some parents warn me that one or another teacher will ask for supplies that are never really used. Or we've purchased items that kids could have easily shared across the aisles.

2) Shop at home. In May or June, kids come home with school supplies that may still be in good shape. Take inventory before you go out and buy a new box of markers, crayons or notebooks. You may have ample supplies in your own cupboard.

3) Wait for the fall clearance sales. Why buy a full wardrobe of fall clothing in August or September? Wait until the shopping rush is over and purchase fall clothing at a discount. Send the kids back to school in light-weight (summer) clothing that is super cheap now. If your kids wear uniforms, look for used or hand-me down uniforms. Some schools have a stock of gently used uniforms that are free or super cheap.


a conscious life said...

AND make good use of the stores fliers! Some places have some really great sales.

Great tips... when my daughter was still in school, I remember buying so many unnecessary items.

Leah Ingram said...

I took your "shop at home" approach to heart earlier this month, when I took inventory of leftover school supplies before heading out to Staples One-Cent Sale. This is how I managed to get back-to-school supplies for 13 cents!

I, too, will wait for clearance sales before buying my kids clothes, though Kohls is having an early-morning sale tomorrow, and one of my daughters wants to go. If there are good prices on stuff I know she can wear for back to school, I may do some buying ahead of schedule.

Anonymous said...


I live up the road :) in Ft. Lauderdale and today we are going back to school shopping. My son wears a uniform (in public school), so I have been looking through the paper for sales. Sears has them on sale. Sears is really good about it taking returns if you belong to their kids club if the clothing doesn't last. Last year I purchased all of his polo shirts there and they actually lasted the entire school year. I buy enough shirts to last about a week and a few days just in case I can't get to do laundry. Anyway, just wanted to share that bit of info.


a conscious life said...

Leah... yes, there are a lot of good sales at Kohl's... FYI, Kohl's will be doing a ton of clearance markdown's in the first full week of Aug.

Today's Budget said...

I used to buy all new, everything. Now I'm much more frugal! Back to school clothes shopping on a budget

Glad I found this blog!