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According to the National Retail Federation, families in America spent an average of $630.36 per child on back-to-school needs like electronics, clothing, and school supplies in 2015. That’s 42% more than families spent a decade ago! With costs increasing, follow these 4 easy tips to graduate this year’s back-to-school shopping season with an A+.

  1. Review your supplies before school starts – This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised by how much spending can be cut down by looking around the home for supplies first. This year, before you do any shopping, set up a day to take an inventory of your child’s existing supplies, looking through closets and drawers to find lightly-used notebooks, binders, crayons, pencils, and pens.

  2. Be a smart shopper and buy in bulk – Back-to-school shopping is a cyclical event and stores are very much aware of this. So, if you enter your local office supplies store without having done your homework, you may leave dazed and with a failing grade in savings. Your child is going to need the essentials, such as those mentioned in tip 1 above, throughout not just the current school year, but upcoming ones as well. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase these supplies in bulk. Wholesale stores offer attractive options to lock down these essential supplies for a fraction of the cost. While bulk shopping may not be appropriate for all supplies, for cyclical essentials such as stationery, bulk shopping is a pretty smart answer.

  3. Study hard and find the best deals – That said, not all supplies can or should be purchased in bulk. Over the course of your child’s academic career, you will come along a lot of supplies that will be onetime purchases, such as a graphing calculator or a laptop. Make sure you do your homework before making any of these purchases. For starters, begin at comparative sites such as fatwallet.com and slickdeals.com. These sites will serve as quick introductory lessons in the product and disclose attractive deals from fellow shoppers like you. You may also find that certain deals may appear to only be offered online. If you feel that this is the case, but there is a brick-and-mortar store that sells the same product nearby, give the store a call and see if they can price match! Most stores offer this feature and will be happy to bring you into the store. The takeaway from this lesson? If you study hard, you will likely score high in savings.

  4. Only bring what you need to class – This may seem a little counter-intuitive to some because it’s impossible to be over prepared for class, right? Not quite. It is very much possible to be over prepared for class. For example, as tempting as the box of 108 crayons looks for Junior, the reality is that he will probably need a pack of 8 or 16. Make sure you are only purchasing what is required or optional for class. If younger students have a list of supplies sent home by the teacher, simply follow it without adding your own touch. The number one reason parents end back-to-school shopping with significantly higher bills than expected is because they have purchased supplies that their kids will not use. For older kids, buy a few days and go back-to-school shopping for non-essential items even after school opens to get a better idea of what is required. This way, they’ll be able to see what they need for each class and you will save yourself both multiple trips and the cost of purchasing unnecessary supplies.

There you have it. Parents and kids alike, go to the head of the class by saving on back-to-school supplies with these tips!


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