Back to school shopping is such an exciting process for students, but it can become so stressful for their parents. Sadly, it will cost even more this year thanks to inflation. How can one save money when buying school supplies or uniforms?
Back to School Shopping – More Stressful Than Ever
Yes, parents are about to spend a lot more on back to school shopping in 2022. The sum will reach $661 per child, on average, per Deloitte’s 2022 back-to-school survey. Sadly, that’s up 8% from 2021 and a whopping 27% from 2019! What’s the most expensive to purchase? Clothes and accessories, in particular, cost 18% more in 2022, with supplies catching up behind. Even the smallest collection of items will be valued highly thanks to inflation. “It’s not that people are really buying more, it’s just the costs have truly changed in the past year, based on our survey,” says Alex Vaz, senior manager for Deloitte & Touche LLP. While many families received $1,400 per qualifying dependent in addition to child tax credit allowance last year, they have to use their allowance in 2022. Moreover, 33% have already claimed to have financial difficulties.
So, how can parents save up on back to school shopping?
Check What You Got and Spread the Shopping Trips
First and foremost, any parent should go through the things that their child already owns. Even a few pencils count when it comes to back to school shopping, as those little purchases will save families a couple of bucks. Gather those supplies into a few piles to see what’s missing. “If (my son) has an open box of markers, I try to make a full set with other markers that are no longer in a box,” Kumiko R. Love, the accredited financial counselor at TheBudgetMom.com, said. “I check things off the list as I sort through each pile so I know exactly what I still need to buy.”
Then, when the list of needed supplies is ready, make sure to spread it out over a couple of trips. “Each week, shop the loss leaders at your store. These are the items on the front page of a store’s circular that have been deeply discounted and allow you to find some of the best deals, such as 1 cent folders and more,” Tracie Fobes, owner of PennyPinchinMom.com, said.
Team Up With Other Parents and Use Discounts
Shopping in bulk is another outstanding strategy. What should one do if they have only one kid, though? Work in teams! Talk to other parents about what they might need for the new school year, then buy those in bulk and split the school supplies like pencils, markers, and even notebooks. “You can split the costs safely and easily using a person-to-person payment platform, like Zelle,” said Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com. If you’re the one to cover the big purchase for the group of parents, using a credit card can trigger more bonuses and financial rewards in the future!
Apart from the rewards, though, use other discounts that the stores might offer. “Use a site like Gift Card Granny to look for discounted gift cards,” Bodge explains. “By shopping with a discounted gift card for Old Navy, Target or wherever else you plan to shop, you’ll automatically save between two to 30% off on top of any other discount you find.” Furthermore, services like Honey can help customers find coupons for their online purchases.
Finally, make sure to voice that you’re shopping for students – Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and others offer discounts to college students and teachers.
Sources: Fortune, U.S. News