A new school year is just around the corner—and for many parents and guardians across the country, this means budgeting for another year of school supplies. From backpacks and lunch boxes to folders, binders, and freshly sharpened pencils, supplies for the average student now cost nearly $600 per year.
Looking to avoid sticker shock and cut down on back-to-school expenses? We've got some practical tips and tricks that are sure to stretch your dollar.
1. Take Inventory of Last Year's Supplies
Before you start buying brand new supplies, take a look at what your student may have left over from last year. Unused notebooks, loose leaf paper, pens, pencils, and some other supplies might be able to be used again this year. The same goes for more expensive gear, like backpacks and lunch boxes, which should last for many years before needing replacement.
If you need to replace expensive supplies, consider buying used items. School uniforms and clothes, textbooks, and even backpacks can be found at a fraction of the price when you get them from a thrift store or other secondhand shop.
2. Hunt for Coupons and Student Discounts
Many retailers understand that parents and guardians are feeling the sting of inflation, especially when it comes to their back-to-school shopping. That's why some companies are offering money-saving promotions and coupons for supplies and gear ranging from school clothes and shoes to backpacks, notebooks, and more. Take some time to explore special promotions from your favorite retailers and take advantage whenever possible. Don't forget to check your local newspapers for additional coupons that you can clip—and be sure to explore browser extensions that will automatically alert you to discounts and offers as you shop online.
3. Save By Shopping Online
Speaking of shopping online, this can be one of the best ways to cut down on your back-to-school spending while also saving yourself some valuable time and hassle. Most retailers launch their online sales before they extend sales to their brick-and-mortar stores, so you can maximize your savings by buying the majority of your supplies online. Likewise, shopping online gives you access to a larger selection of retailers and businesses without having to leave your home—so you can home in on the best deals while still shopping for your favorite brands.
4. Compare Brands, Prices, and Products
Another advantage of shopping online for school supplies is that it makes it easy to compare different brands, prices, and product availability. For example, rather than physically shopping for a backpack at one single store, shopping online allows you to check out a wide selection of options from different brands and stores. From there, you can compare features, prices, and ratings to decide on the best (and most cost-effective) option for your needs.
5. Hold Off Until You Have a Supply List
If you haven't yet received an official supply list from your child's school, consider holding off on your supply shopping until you do, or until they start school and receive direction from their teacher. This will save you from spending your hard-earned money on items that your child may not even need.
6. Take Advantage of Cash-Back Credit Cards
Cash-back credit cards can be a great way to earn money back on the purchases you need to make anyway (like school supplies). If you're thinking about opening up a cash-back or rewards credit card, take some time to research your options and find the best card for your needs. At Bank5 Connect, we offer an array of card options to suit your needs with features like cash back, fraud protection, and 24/7 customer support. Once you've received and activated your card, simply use it to pay for your school supplies and you'll automatically start earning rewards and/or cash back on your purchases!
Saving on School Supplies: The Bottom Line
Let's face it. The cost of school supplies can add up quickly, especially if you have multiple kids. The good news? There are steps you can take to lessen the burden and even earn some cash back on your school-related purchases. From there, your child will be set up for a successful year—and your bank account will thank you!