Back-to-school shopping can put a bit of a dent in parents’ bank accounts depending on how many school-age children they have, not to mention the stress of spending hours looking for the best deals. Read on for some back-to-school shopping advice that can save parents money, time and frustration.
- Shop online: It’s easier to stick to a shopping list and compare for best prices and you’ll save yourself the time and aggravation that can come from going from store-to-store in search of specific items or sales.
- Look beyond traditional big box stores: Give resale shops a try, especially if your older kids are enamored of trendy labels. Even the most label-conscious teen can enjoy shopping at resale stores because they can buy more designer/brand names for less.
- Take advantage of sales tax holidays: Get moving on this! Florida’s back-to-school tax holiday ends Aug. 9. During this sales tax holiday period, qualifying items will be exempt from tax including: most school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item; and the first $1,000 of the sales price of computers and certain accessories, when purchased for noncommercial or personal use.
- Don’t do it all at once: If possible, spread out your shopping over time. If you try to do it all in just a few days, you’ll be exhausted and frazzled.
- Keep your shopping list on your phone: Have your list handy so that you’re always ready to grab a good deal.
- Hit the sales racks first: Especially when it comes to clothes, check out the clearance section first before looking at the regularly priced items.
- Compare prices on e-books: For classes with reading lists, perhaps buying the electronic version of a book would be less expensive than purchasing a physical copy.
- Use coupons and watch ads: Use coupons (digital or print) and keep an eye on back-to-school ads for deals on must-have items.
- Ask your friends: Do you have friends with children a bit older than your kids? If so, see if they have any gently-used school supplies that they’d be willing to part with. For instance, in Florida an item like a winter coat might not get much wear before it’s outgrown and your friends might want to clear out their kids’ closets in anticipation of new back-to-school clothes.