The National Retail Federation’s 2018 say that back-to-school spending for kindergarten through college in the U.S. is expected to be about $82.8 billion nationwide.
YIKES! Right? Well here's how some parents are fighting the "over spending" bug on da babies this school year:
One mom says it's all about the coupons!
“I follow The Krazy Coupon Lady and she posts a lot of back-to-school items for super cheap. I buy most of my school supplies at Staples—believe it or not, they have the best sales. Last time I went, the salesperson told me the August sales are the best. I bought composition notebooks for $0.50 and everything else I got was a dollar or less. On Amazon, I buy highlighters and glue sticks in bulk for $3.99. I also will put things in my [Amazon] cart—mostly Ticonderoga pencils—and wait until they go on Lightning Deals.”
2) Keep what is YOURS
Label what is your kids and yes, it's ok to be a bit stingy with it!
“I have been known to print out my kids’ names and tape it on every crayon and pencil with double tape, so my kids can reclaim their items from ole sticky finger Katie who thinks she can have all the pink crayons.
I also always find common items needed and get them in bulk and store them for the upcoming school year. I reuse things like binders that are standard between grades.
Mom groups are great for younger kids, too. When our kids would grow out of their clothes, we would pass them to a kid who wears that size. It’s a great way to save money.”
3) It's OK to NOT have the "hottest" trend
We ALL want our kids to be stylish but it's ok to not TOTALLY follow the trend.
“Don’t just get the cool, trendy, everyone-has-this school stuff. 1. Because your kids’ stuff will certainly get mixed up when everyone has the same thing 2. Trendy stuff isn’t always the best functional choice. Look at practicality and price when it comes to back-to-school shopping—from school supplies to lunchbox items. Then, if you do need something on trend (like jeans, shoes, etc.), go with a fashion piece, which can create confidence in your kid and be re-worn throughout the school year.”
4) BUY IN BULK
It's rare that the staple school supplies will go bad or go unused so yeah. Hit up the big box store and grab that stuff in bulk!
“My school sends the school supply list in June with the year-end report card. I place a copy in my glovebox and then I shop around this time. Since two of my kids are a grade apart and their teachers’ needs are similar, I buy in bulk. I think parents who are new to elementary school don’t know that kids will need a supply refresh midyear, so that’s why I buy extra at the sale price.
Dry erase markers are cheaper in bulk at Costco. And it’s cheaper to buy glue sticks in bulk and divvy them up between kids. Post-it Notes are also used a lot, so I get a brick of them at Costco. Don’t skimp on quality. Crayola products are the best and they last longer, so when Target has those on super sale, buy and stash for midyear requests.
High-quality backpacks are also very important. The cheap cartoon ones are garbage. Kids tend to drag them on the ground and then they get holes midyear. Same with lunch bags—the insulated ones are great to wipe out and are durable.
For clothes, I have three kids and I do hand-me-downs and also buy new. I tend to not go overboard with clothes and just replace grown out or worn out throughout the year to spread the expense. There’s a lot of pressure to have everything brand new [when school starts] and that’s just not necessary. When you can reuse a pencil box, then do it. And when in doubt, do swaps with friends.”
5) Leave the kids out of it
Sure you'd LIKE their input BUT they're going to gravitate to what they've seen on TV (goes back to the whole trendy thing) and think less about practicality and longevity.
“Go without your kids. There are too many choices. Also, don’t wait until the last minute since it [is] hard to find most of the stuff on the list.”