According to Family Circle magazine, the average family spent $594.24 on back-to-school shopping last year. The magazine offers these tips for this year's shoppers:
Saving on Books
- Buy back-to-school textbooks at Half.com. Or save up to 85% by renting used textbooks from Chegg.com-- then returning them at semester's end. Bonus: A tree is planted for every book borrowed.
- To save money on books for school, join the library (September is Library Card Sign-Up Month).
- Or, check out a book-sharing site: Booksfree.com: $11/month to borrow two paper backs at a time or AmericasBookShelf.com: $12 annual fee, plus $3.50 for every borrowed book.
Saving on Clothes
- Clean out your kids' closets to figure out exactly what fits and what doesn't. This way you KNOW exactly what they need rather than what they WANT. While you're cleaning out the closets, fill up a bag with clothes and donate it to your local Goodwill to be a part of Family Circle's Back to School Clothing Drive. The goal is to collect 5 million pounds of clothes so that every kid can go back to school in style. For more information go to: www.shopfamilycircle.com/goodwill.
- Before a mall trip, establish a budget that won't be budged just because your daughter has found the "perfect" pair of jeans or a pretty backpack. Parents should still have veto power over all purchases, even if it is the child's own money.
- If your child is required to wear school uniforms, organize a "swap" with other parents to save money on purchasing new sizes.
- Ask for a student discount at the register some stores offer this for students-- J. Crew offers a discount if you show student ID.
- Don't buy an entire new wardrobe before school even starts. Kids, especially girls, are fickle and will change their minds before the temperature drops enough to wear fall clothes. By the middle-to-end of September, things will start to go on sale too.
Saving on School Supplies
- Before running to your office supply store, raid the family junk drawers and home offices. You will find extra highlighters, notebook paper, binders, etc. left over from previous school years that you forgot you had (At the same time, get all of the spare school supplies in one place to make this easier next year).
- Stick to the list that the school provides before the first day, or wait until the end of the first week to see if your kid gets more specific instructions. If the teacher absolutely requires something, she will let you or your child know.
- Buy in bulk. Warehouse stores like BJs, Costco, etc. have supplies like pens, paper, glue sticks, etc. that will save you money, and the hassle of going to the office supply stores, on the first night of school each year.
- Become a member of a store's discount program. Once you sign up, they let you know about sales and offer exclusive insider coupons.