Late August and early September mean county fairs, cooler nights and back-to-school shopping. Whether you’re buying crayons for your kindergartener or are sending your student to college, it can pay to shop smart this season and save on back-to-school essentials.
Try our tips for smart spending as you prepare for the coming school year.
Don’t go overboard
Most grade schools provide a list of necessary supplies for your student and detail what they’ll need. The lists have been compiled by teachers specifically for their classes, so if something isn’t on the list, chances are you won’t need it. You might be tempted to fill your cart with adorable notebooks and pencil cases, but if you stick to the script, you’ll save more money.
Do shop sales
If your student needs a more expensive item, like a backpack or graphing calculator, pay attention to the plethora of sales and rebates that are available during July, August and September. Compare prices among retailers and choose the best option for you, whether it’s buying online or heading to the store.
Don’t buy a year’s wardrobe in August
If your student is still growing, there’s no need to buy clothing now that might not fit them next year. Stick to items you know they can wear right now, and pay attention to out-of-season sales. You might be able to nab last year’s winter coat at a great price in the offseason.
Do think about buying secondhand
Thrift shops, garage sales and online secondhand retailers make it easy and environmentally friendly to purchase gently-used items. Items like textbooks and backpacks are good candidates for buying used, as are kids’ clothes. You won’t worry as much about clothing getting dirty or too small when you didn’t pay as much for it up-front.
Don’t make all the decisions for your child
To avoid buying things your student doesn’t like, let them make some of their own choices. You’ll save yourself the cost of buying unwanted items — and the inevitable argument over fashion choices that can result.
Do involve your student in the buying process
Even young children can learn valuable lessons about money, spending and saving when you make them part of the action. If your student is hankering after a particular item, help them understand how much it costs. Depending on the item, encourage them to save up for it themselves.
Smart back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be difficult with AAA. Members can save on dozens of popular brands –like HP, Reebok, Crocs and Tanger Outlets — every day, just by showing their cards. Explore all the ways you can save at AAA.com/Discounts.