Getting children back to school is probably the most hectic time of the year, especially if there is more than one child at home. With the recent economic recession adding to the financial woes of households, parents are adopting several shopping patterns to minimise the costs on getting children back to school. Usage of coupons, shopping at sales or discount shops, opting for generic instead of branded items are a few trends that are getting popular. Let’s look at some tips on saving money on school supplies this year.
Set a Budget
Based on affordability, it is important to plan in advance for school expenses, allowing of course some room for seasonal price variation and inflation.
It is wise to pen down all supplies that are a required to kick start a new academic year. One can either start with a standard list provided by the school or prepare a list after speaking to the children on their requirements. One can also highlight the importance of simply sticking to the essentials to start off the year and subsequently filling in on other supplies during the course of the year.
Separate the ‘must haves’ from the ‘good to haves’, basically the needs from the wants. Refine the list to exclude or defer a few items from the original list.
Take Stock of Supplies
Once the essential requirements have been identified, it is now time for parents and children to scour the home for some of these items that may have already been purchased earlier and can now be (re)used. Most families miss out on stock taking, spending a lot of money on buying supplies they already own.
Shopping for uniform, stationery and books can be an exhaustive task, especially if one has to visit many shops to complete the purchase. Timing the shopping is necessary to beat the crowds and to also grab a copy of the books before the shops run out of stock. Avoid cramming the entire shopping experience in one single outing; it is bound to be tiring, and one may miss a few items on the list as well.
Shop for Discounts
It is ideal to wait and avail discounts, be it shopping for books or clothes. Used text books in good condition too are a great way to save some money.
Don’t Compromise on Quality
While sticking to the planned budget is an absolute must, not all quality products are cheap. Do make an exception while opting for electronic gadgets or backpacks. Durability of goods saves a lot on repair and maintenance in the long run.
Energy Saving and Home Heating
College students can team up with their roommates to purchase energy saving heaters, coolers or refrigerators and share the costs, while enjoying the benefits of the appliances.
College-goers and senior school students can opt to rent text books for each year of their course and then return them in good condition. The practice is particularly helpful as long as the syllabus for the year has not undergone any changes from the previous year.
Shopping online has its own advantages, as purchases can be made right from the comforts of one’s home. Time and effort spent on transport and discount hunting can be used to browse offers at the online sites, compare prices and shop for the best deals. Children need not tag along with their parents to crowded outlets to shop for school supplies. Most online shops also ship orders for free.
Bulk shopping and opting for second hand goods also help save considerably on school supplies.