August seems to be the new “Back-to-School” month with many districts beginning sometime in August. Traditionally, school started in September, but over the years the k-12 education system has gotten more “in-sync” with traditional semester colleges and starts before Labor Day Weekend. The reasoning behind this is so high school seniors can take advantage of summer college courses.
As parents wrap up their summers and begin shopping for school supplies, it’s financially savvy to keep a few tips in mind:
Don’t go overboard on school supplies!
It’s easy to get caught up in all the office and school supply sales and buy 10 spiral notebooks, 5 3-ring binders, and every other cute looking folder and pencil case out there. But beware – you might be buying supplies your child may never use. This tip is especially pertinent for middle school and high school students.
Once school starts, their teachers (which range between 4 and 6 of them!) may require certain supplies from a large 3-ring binder that fits everything to multiple spiral notebooks. Some teachers work in teams, making supplies more uniform, while others request specific items for their class, like composition books.
Solution: Keep it simple on their first day. Make sure your child has a backpack, paper, pencils, a pen, a two-pocket folder and a highlighter to start the first day with. After they receive each class’s syllabus, then purchase the items needed for each class.
But what about all the sales beforehand?!
If you just can’t stand passing up the hot deals, some supplies are always needed – like pencils, erasers, paper, backpacks, etc. Solution: Take advantage of the deeply discounted basic necessities – like two-pocket folders for 1-cent each at Staples this week.
For those that live in one of the 16 states that offers a sales-tax-free weekend, check out this Parade article to see if and when your state is sponsoring their sales tax holiday. Tip: Many of the states that offer this start Friday, August 2nd.
Don’t forget to look for coupons, promo codes, and last minute sales after school begins. And, if you belong to a rewards program, you can sometimes purchase backpacks and get the entire amount returned to you in the form of a rebate.
*Notable mention: The Frugal Toad also wrote an article on how to save money on school supplies this week.
How do you save money on school supplies?