Frugal tips for back to school supplies.
Summer goes by way to fast! Back to school supply season always sneaks up on us and I kind of hate it. Sending my three kids back to school makes me a little sad as they keep growing (and I keep telling them to stop!). As back to school keeps coming closer it also means it’s time to spend money (which I also don’t like…..I guess I’m kindof picky huh???). This time of year I am usually spending money on school sports, year books, clothing, and supplies. The expenses add up quick, too quick! Because of this, I am always learning how to save money on back to school shopping.
I’m going to be completely honest with you….
Buying back to school supplies has always been a spending trigger for me. I just love all of the fresh pencils, crayons, and new binders. When I see all the great deals I really want to grab a few extra here and a few extra there….anyone else know what I’m talking about???
I have been working harder the past couple of years to not give into these temptations and stay within my back to school budget. Here are a few of the things I have learned to help make it happen.
1. Shop Your House First
The first and most important way to save money on back to school supplies is to shop your house before going to the store!
This really needs to begin on the last day of school. When your kids bring home backpacks full of their used school supplies, make an effort to save as many of these supplies as possible.
Sort though everything and save as many of the folders, crayons, binders, pens, markers, etc. as you can. Personally, I aim for reusing about 90% of my kids supplies.
I keep everything stored in a large box; and when the time comes to buy supplies for the upcoming year, we pull out this box and “go shopping.”
When you get your list of requested back to school supplies try to find as many of the supplies at home first, before going to the store. Search through your school supply box, and dig through closets, desks and drawers.
Get the kids involved in this! Turn it into a game and have a race to see who can find the most supplies from their classroom list at home.
2. Compare Prices
Another way to save money on back to school shopping is to take the time to compare prices at multiple stores. Look through the weekly store fliers and make a list of which store has which supply for the least amount of money.
I use the free Flipp app to browse through the weekly sales fliers. It’s really easy to use!
As you are price comparing you will find that some school supplies will be cheaper at the dollar store, but other items will be cheaper somewhere else. It takes a little extra work and planning, but it will save you money!
Before going shopping for your back to school supplies, make a list of which stores has which items for the best price. Use this list to help you remember where to shop and what to buy.
- Related: A Month of School Lunchbox Ideas
3. Use Coupons
I also really like to search for manufacture or in store coupons. Match these coupons with store sales for the biggest discounts.
A few places you can find coupons are:
- Online using websites such as coupons.com or couponsurfer.com
- In Sunday newspaper inserts
- In stores near the front door or on the shelves
4. Take Advantage of Cashback
Always utilize cashback apps as you shop. This is the best way to earn free money when buying things you would be buying anyways.
A few cashback apps I love for saving money on back to school shopping are:
- Rakuten: When you use Rakuten for earning cash on all online shopping, you are given a percentage cashback on all purchases. It’s easy to use and requires almost no work!
Just log into the Rakuten app or website. Select the store you want to shop at, and then shop and checkout as normal.
Your cashback will automatically be put into your account and mailed to you every few months! Yay!
You can get a BONUS $30 cash when you sign up for Rakuten using this link.
- Ibotta: Another favorite cashback app is Ibotta. Ibotta offers rebates on a wide variety of items in multiple stores. All you have to do is shop, select the qualifying items within the app, and scan your receipt.
You can cash out once your account reaches $20!
Get a $10 BONUS when you sign up with this link.
- Fetch Rewards: Fetch Rewards is one of the easiest way to earn cash back on school supplies. Simply download the app here and then scan your receipt into the app. You will automatically earn points, which can be redeemed for gift cards to all of your favorite stores.
Use code FETCH2K for 2,000 bonus points when signing up for Fetch!
5. Leave the Kids at Home
Taking a school aged kid down the aisles of school supplies is the equivalent of taking them to a candy store. One glimpse of the fun, colorful, trendy (and very very expensive) supplies and they are convinced they “just have to have it!” (any other moms relate?!?!?).
I have learned the hard way that I will spend less money if I leave my kids at home. If my kids never lay eyes on all the pretty school supplies, they won’t even know they are missing anything!
Leave those sweet kids at home and buy what you can afford, without having to feel guilty for saying “no.”
There are many ways that you can save money when back to school shopping. The most important thing is that you set a budget, and you stick to it. No matter what! We got this!