10 Ways to Save on Your Back to School Shopping - Refresh Financial

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10 Ways to Save on Your Back to School Shopping

It’s that sweet, sweet time of year again, when we’re gearing up to send our kids off to school. It means more time to get things done, more peace and quiet around the house, and earlier bedtimes so we can all watch Daryl Dixon brain a few walkers after little Timmy has fallen asleep. As much as we love our kids, entertaining them for an entire summer is exhausting and we’re all headed for that blissful break, very soon! There is a downside to back-to-school, though, and that’s the cost of back to school shopping involved. Your kids want the Star Wars backpacks and the Gap jeans. They want a brand new, shiny pair of Jordans and a MacBook Pro to do what we used to do at the library. It all adds up and it can be one of the most expensive times of the year.

Luckily, there are ways to save, though. Just remember, you’re the adult, and you make the rules. Don’t be puppy-dog-eyed into spending more than you want to. Follow these ten tips for your back to school shopping, and you’ll have a healthier wallet, happier credit cards, and possibly even some money-smart kids:

1. Get organized

Make a list of everything each of your children will need to start school. The schools they attend should issue a list sometime before school, of all the supplies they will need. Stick to the list. Don’t stray. Be straight with your kids about that so they know what to expect.

2. Make a budget and explain it to your kids

Including them in the process will help them to understand why they might be getting hand-me-downs, and it will teach them a little bit about money. They might have some input on what items they’d be willing to give up, so they can get the expensive backpack they really want, and they might have some creative ideas as well, as far as saving money goes.

3. Take stock

What does your child already have that can be reused another year? Do his siblings have items that can be handed down? Not everything has to be new. Let your kids know that the more you can save this way, the easier it will be to get the things they really want for back to school. You’d be surprised how reasonable kids can be when they understand the situation.

4. Shop second hand stores

With a little time and a keen eye, you’d be amazed what you can find in these stores. Bonus tip: shop second hand stores in wealthier neighbourhoods. They’re usually stocked with top-notch gear.

5. Pay attention to flyers, bonus points to be collected, items on sale and coupons

You can do this by subscribing to your favourite stores online: newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Pay attention to the deals they’re posting, and you’ll manage to cash in on a few.

6. Join and follow the discussion in the forums at SmartCanucks.ca

Usually around this time of year, a back-to-school thread is active, full of deals and freebies and promotions across Canada.

7. Grab discounted gift cards at the stores you’re likely to shop at

For instance, you can grab a $250 Gap gift card at giftcardswild.com for $225.

8. Shop at dollar stores

These shops are on every corner and usually have a vast selection of stationery supplies, as well as reusable lunch bags, backpacks, snacks and more.

9. Be sure to mention the tax-free status of everything you’re buying

In most places, school supplies are exempt or semi-exempt from sales taxes.

10. If your kids want the truly expensive items, make them pay for it

Paper routes are usually available for younger kids, and teens can find babysitting jobs, and sometimes part-time jobs to pay for the things they really want. You can also have them work for you, doing odd jobs around the house.

If you follow these ten steps, back-to-school should be what it’s supposed to be: the best time of the year!

How do you save money on school supplies? Let us know in the comments!

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