Five Ways To Save On Back To School Shopping

Saving Dollarsand Sense

It is officially August, and that means fall is in the air and school will soon be in session (if it isn’t already for you).

I know some of us are still basking in the summer sun and ignoring the fact that shorter school days are just around the corner.  But I was surprised to see several trees have already begun to change their colors and I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were many moms with kids in the Target Back to School section the other day while I was there.

This news report was released today that states the average parents are spending is $688 on Back to School per child!  

We homeschool, and even with classes & curriculum I don’t think we have ever spent that much on school.  Maybe I am so far removed from reality and have no concept of how much it costs to send your kids to school, but this seems a bit outrageous to me especially considering the fact that we are supposed to be living in a time of recession.

Other than following my Back to School Deals here, there are a few other things you can do to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck this year.

So whether you are ready for it or not, I am here to offer you some helpful tips to save on this years Back to School shopping with the following Five Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping.

  1.  Take an inventory.  Look in your children’s closets & dressers and get together a list of what they already have that you can skip buying right now.  Then you can see what they still need and go from there.
  2.  Set a budget and make a list. Once you have your inventory in hand you can sit down and set a budget with your kids.  It really helps to let them know before heading to the stores how much you have to spend on them.  This will help avoid any fights while you are in the store over the latest and greatest unnecessary items. Since there are only 5 days in a school week, you really only need to come up with a couple outfits.  Try to buy things that can be interchangable to create even more outfits with just a few simple pieces.
  3. Don’t buy snack sizes.  When it comes to lunches, don’t fall prey to snack-size options when planning school lunches. Buy a full-size bag of crackers and then make your own snack sizes with reusable containers to save a ton on snacks. Also make sure to pick up a reusable Lunch Kit like this one that you can get FREE to save on brown bags.
  4.  Plan ahead. Take some time to check out all of the sales papers to find out where you can pick up the things on your list for the least amount of money! You can go here to find out what all of the current Back to School sales are to find out where to go for the best deals on school supplies!  Also consider picking up a few extra school supplies while they are so inexpensive to have on hang during the year when you child runs out.
  5. Keep everything in perspective. Really, keep in mind that you are sending your kids to school to learn. Of course we want them to feel confident and we all know that looking great helps especially with older kids. But be careful that you are not sending the message that the way they look, or the things they have are more important that getting a great education!
I can’t help but think after reading the article that said parents are spending $688 per child on Back to School that maybe these parents are forgetting the reason for school?
You can see even more great ideas in this Woman’s Day article How to Save Money on Back to School.
About Kristie Sawicki

Kristie Sawicki is the author of Saving Dollars and Sense, where she blogs about Money Saving Ideas and Frugal Living Tips, as well the Best Coupons, Deals and Freebies around. You can connect with Kristie Sawicki on Google+ and on the Saving Dollars and Sense Facebook page.


  1. Good tips! I don’t necessarily set a budget unless things are tight, but I do keep it within reason. I always do an inventory and only buy what they absolutely need. They each may get just one thing they want, but with three I can’t be frivolous. Great post.

  2. That’s pretty much how we did it this year… ( They didn’t like that they couldn’t get all new stuff but they had SO much that was still in perfect shape, it just didn’t make sense. We took a full inventory and then wrote out a list of exactly what items we would be purchasing and stuck to that list almost precisely. Yes, just almost LOL They snuck in an item here and there but nothing major so all in all I was happy with how much we saved this year by planning it all out! Great tip on the snack thing — as practical as I normally am, I hadn’t even considered the snacks. I will have to buy a bunch in bulk and be ready for that as well!

  3. I couldn’t afford to spend that much. So, no, I did not.

  4. Consignment shops can have uniform items, many NWT at a fraction of the MSRP.

  5. Excellent idea to look at what you already have. I know that we have so many pens and pencils in several drawers at our house . . . probably has everything we would need for school!

Add Your Comment