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Smart Strategies To Save Money On Back-to-School Shopping

As a parent, I know the annual back-to-school shopping spree can put a serious dent in your wallet. But don’t fret! With a little planning and savvy shopping, you can stock up on all the essentials without breaking the bank.

Understanding the Basics of Back-to-School Shopping

Understanding the Basics of Back-to-School Shopping

In this section, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of back-to-school shopping, examining the typical costs involved and exploring possible strategies for timing your shopping to achieve the greatest savings.

The Typical Costs Involved

Back-to-school shopping, let’s face it, comes with a hefty price tag. Various elements contribute to this cost. You have the basics, such as pencils and notebooks, that, while relatively inexpensive individually, can accumulate to a substantial sum. Additionally, larger ticket items like backpacks, calculators and electronics, can add significantly to the total expenses. Lastly, wardrobe refreshes which can’t be skipped, also have a considerable price attached. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2020, parents spent an average of around $789.49 per family for children in elementary through to high school.

| Average cost per family (2020) | $789.49 |

Timing Your Shopping for Maximum Savings

Strategic planning and timing can play a key role in creating savings. Commence your shopping during the summer months, keeping an eye out for discounts and sales. Also, buying out of season often results in lower prices. Understand, the back-to-school season generally starts in late July and peaks in mid-August. Retailers often release best discounts in the very first days of the season, attempting to outdo competitors. Furthermore, a second wave of deals frequently hits in September, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for these, although it requires managing with the current supplies till then. Taking advantage of tax-free days in your state can lead to substantial savings, particularly on those big-ticket items. By optimizing shopping timing, one can decrease back-to-school expenses significantly.

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Strategies to Save Money on School Supplies

Strategies to Save Money on School Supplies

Utilizing cost-effective strategies can turn school supply shopping, often viewed as a wallet-drainer, into a more affordable task. Let me lay out some powerful strategies that can help manage and reduce these costs effectively.

Comparing Prices Online and In-Store

Evaluating the costs of school supplies across different platforms can definitely come in handy. Numerous retail stores publish their school supplies list and associated costs online, making a price comparison relatively simple. For instance, a 12-pack of pencils might cost $1 at a discount store, $1.50 online, and $2 at an office supply store. Always remember, a few cents saved on each item can tally up to substantial savings over the whole shopping list.

Complementarily, in-store browsing allows you to detect unadvertised sales, clearance items, and bargain bins that aren’t always visible online. These can be gold mines for saving money in your twenties. Hence, it’s beneficial to compare prices both online and in-store before making the final purchasing decision.

Taking Advantage of Tax-Free Days

Tax-free days are a boon for budget-conscious parents. These special shopping days are laid out by many states in the U.S. that waive sales tax on school supplies and other items, inclusive of clothing and electronics. To cite a specific instance, Texas has its annual tax-free weekend in August that deduces the overall school shopping bill to a great extent.

Be mindful, though, that tax-breaks may come with certain limitations. For example, individual items exceeding a set price limit may not be eligible for tax exemptions. Therefore, checking for specific tax-free day policies in your locality can help you plan your shopping and score the maximum discounts. Being aware of these savings-ready moments, you can smartly use them to your advantage and save big on school supplies.

By integrating these two key strategies into your shopping plan, you can significantly trim down the expenses on back-to-school supplies.

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Clothing and Uniforms on a Budget

Clothing and Uniforms on a Budget

Moving to clothing and uniform considerations, it’s easy to find effective ways to cut costs without compromising on quality.

Buying Secondhand and Swapping with Other Parents

One effective tactic is to turn to secondhand stores and swaps. Look for community swap meets, often organized by local groups, where parents exchange gently used clothing. For instances, such gatherings could help you trade your child’s outgrown uniforms for items that fit. Consider also online platforms like eBay where you can find great deals on secondhand uniforms.

Swapping with other parents isn’t limited to physical meetups; online communities can be a great resource as well. Websites like The provide a platform for parents to exchange clothing and uniforms directly, cutting out the middleman and offering fantastic savings.

Looking for Sales and Using Coupons

Another savvy strategy involves staying alert for sales and making the most of coupons. Retailers usually offer discounts and clearances during specific times in a school year. Keeping an eye on these sales can result in substantial savings. For example, stores often reduce uniform prices after the back-to-school rush.

Coupons can also yield significant savings. Numerous websites, like RetailMeNot, provide access to a wide range of coupons from various retailers. Combining these coupons with existing sales could drastically reduce the cost of back-to-school clothes and uniforms. It’s all about timing your purchases right, being flexible in your shopping, and staying consistently attentive to the best deals.

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Utilizing Technology for Budgeting

Utilizing Technology for Budgeting

Transitioning now to the realm of technology, it offers endless possibilities in helping us not only set, but also stick to our back-to-school shopping budget.

Apps and Websites That Offer Discounts

Apps and websites are a key resource for offering discounts on back-to-school supplies. Retail apps often feature store-specific discounts or loyalty points that can help save a substantial amount of money. Examples include the Amazon app with its high volume of discounts or Walmart’s app featuring weekly rollbacks on their items.

There also are discount-centric apps such as RetailMeNot and Honey. These programs scan the web for coupon codes and apply them directly at checkout, reducing shopping costs. Apps like Rakuten pay cash back for purchases made at thousands of stores.

In addition to apps, numerous discount websites can be browsed for back-to-school deals. Use these technology tools to their full potential, and prioritizing saving will be a breeze.

Setting Up Alerts for Deals

Next let’s talk about alerts for deals. Not only can you hunt for discounts, but you can also allow them to come straight to you. Setting up alerts for deals is a proactive way of staying ahead of the sales curve.

Apps like Groupon or LivingSocial feature alerts when prices drop or new deals are available. Tools like CamelCamelCamel and Price Tracker for Amazon alert you when items on your wish list experience a price drop.

Email alerts from favorite retailers can also be an effective way to snatch up deals as soon as they’re available. Receiving an alert might ensure you never miss a deal, keeping hard-earned cash in your pocket. Through strategic use of these technology tools, embracing frugality in back-to-school shopping has never been simpler.


So there you have it! By taking a strategic approach to back-to-school shopping, you can keep your expenses in check. Remember, it’s all about planning ahead, comparing prices, and making the most of sales, swaps, and secondhand options. Don’t forget to leverage the power of technology too. Use apps and websites to find the best deals, and set up alerts to stay informed about price drops. With these money-saving strategies, you’ll be set for the school year without breaking the bank. Here’s to a budget-friendly, stress-free back-to-school shopping experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of the article?

The article primarily focuses on providing valuable tips to parents for managing back-to-school shopping costs through proper planning, cost-saving strategies, and use of technology.

What are the tips listed to save on school supplies?

The article suggests comparing prices across various stores, taking advantage of tax-free days, and purchasing only necessary items as effective strategies for saving on school supplies.

How can one economize on school clothes and uniforms?

Economizing on school attire can be achieved through buying secondhand, using coupons, finding sales, and engaging in clothing swaps.

What are some convenient apps and websites mentioned that can help receive discounts?

Apps like RetailMeNot and Honey, as well as deal-offering websites, are recommended in the article for securing discounts. Setting up alerts for price drops and new offers on apps like Groupon is also suggested.

How does the article recommend using technology to save money?

The article proposes the use of price comparison apps, discount coupon apps, deal finding websites, and price alert tools to keep informed about the best deals and discounts available, thereby saving money.

Author Profile

Kathy Hardtke
Kathy Hardtke
I am thrilled to have been invited to blog about my experiences trading stock and options with Rich Dad.  Since 1998, when I picked up my first Rich Dad book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, I have been hooked on Robert and Kim’s philosophies on becoming financially free through investing.  Their books and courses have changed my life as well as my daughter’s life, whom I am now teaching all I have learned about trading stock and options.

My experience has been in the real estate and finance industry for 20 years.  I was a Realtor with ERA, a Mortgage Loan Officer with Bank of America, and a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  Each time I chose a career that I thought I would get “the inside track” on investing and each time I learned it was just a “job”, although very good job and I was lucky enough to enjoy my career.  Simply put, these jobs would only get me a paycheck but never take me to financial freedom and the dreams and lifestyle I was looking to achieve.

With that said, I have no desire to make millions to have expensive “things” but I do have a dream to not only become financially free for myself and my family but also for others.  I started an organization called GROW Africa to help others.  We build wells in the farthest reaches of the earth in the bush of Zambia.  The women and children have to walk up to 4 hours each way to carry as much water as they can carry back.  I thought that was such a basic human need, that I felt I needed to do something about it, and did.

What is super cool about the training I received through Rich Dad Education on trading stocks and options is, now that I am educated on the Rich Dad stock trading system, I can trade anywhere in the world, including while I am in remote Africa building wells, providing water for those with little or none, as long as I have a power source and a satellite internet card.  Now that is freedom!

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences about trading stocks and options and walking with you on the path to financial freedom.  This is a process of building your wealth consistently over time, then passing it on to your children creating generational wealth.  I wish you all success and can’t wait to hear some of your stories of success as time ticks on!

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