Alright, who took July? And while we’re at it, who is stealing August away from us so quickly too? I swear it was only yesterday that I was clearing out rotten sandwiches from the bottom of school bags and sending my kids off to camp. I’m not ready for back to school I tell you! And you know what else is not ready? My wallet. With a meager four paycheques between the end of the school year and the start, I’ll admit to feeling the pinch every September.
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo though, and I can tell you that as the years pass I’m getting wiser. They should hand out report cards for this stuff.
10 Money Saving Tips for Back to School
Wait It Out
Get your kids in the habit of waiting until a couple of weeks after school starts to do their clothing shopping. Kids are often wearing summer clothes anyway through mid-September and through waiting you’ll benefit from all the sales the stores put on after school starts. Plus, you’ll also avoid buyers remorse. You know, the kind that sees them realizing a week after school starts that the trend was actually boho chic and not preppy after all?
Watch the Flyers
If you’re not in the habit of picking up your weekly flyers, August is a great time to start. Mark the deals in a note pad or on the FLIPP app and when you’re driving by that store on your weekly travels, pop in and pick up ONLY what you need. Stop and pick up anything else and you’ve fallen into their trap.
Resist the urge to buy character backpacks, lunch boxes and pencil cases. For example, Jansport backpacks are guaranteed for life and are competitively priced with other backpacks. Why buy the same thing over and over again?
Pop Some Tags
I swear somebody keeps sprinkling fertilizer in my kids’ shoes because every time I turn around they’ve grown out of something. This is where thrifting has literally saved my sanity and my bank account. We routinely replace outgrown items at thrift shops for a fraction of the cost at a retail store.
If they offer free shipping it’s an automatic win in my books because a) my time is worth something and b) I didn’t have to spend money on gas. Also, this cuts down huge on the nag factor my children like to pull out in the stores.
Hopefully you bought a quality backpack last year and you don’t have to buy another one. Can the binders be re-used? What about pencil crayons? Anything you can use to get you through one more year will save you money.
Want to avoid shelling out money for the school cafeteria because you don’t have anything in the house for lunch? Meal plan. Make sure the kids get involved in this too so there’s no waste. You can find a week’s worth of ideas here. Don’t forget to include leftovers in your plans as well to stretch your dollar even further. August is also a great time to start baking freezer-friendly grab-n-go snacks like muffins and bars.
Introduce your kids to the most important word they’ll ever hear. Budget. This is the best way to manage expectations each year, especially as kids hit the tween/teen years and brands become their BFF’s. Last year my daughter found four Hollister t-shirts she loved at Value Village for less than the price of one new one, so her budget allowed her to get the trendy new boots she really wanted too.
Get Your Kids A Student Discount Card
Sign your kids up for a Student Discount Card like the Student Price Card and points cards at their favourite stores. These can be great money savers.
Before you spend a dime, make sure you properly distribute hand me downs. Then purge your closets of what you will never use again by donating a local second hand shop or better yet, make a little money with consignment. Once your closets are cleared out, you’ll be able to make an accurate list of what you really need to purchase.