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School Supplies on a Budget: How to Save Some Money

It’s that time of year again! Summer is coming to a close, and your kids are getting excited about going back to school. Even though some children will be learning from home this year, they still need certain supplies to complete their assignments. You’re looking at a list of school supplies that looks about a mile long and wondering how can paper and pencils cost so much money. There has to be a way to save a little money, keep your budget intact, and get your child the school supplies they need to be successful. Here are some ways to save some money on school supplies this year.

Buy Only What You Need to Start

In some cases, the teachers publish an extensive list and only use a portion of the supplies on it. In other cases, the school publishes the list and individual teachers don’t require everything on the list or some completely different items. You might consider buying only the basics, such as paper, pencils, and book bags, to start. Once your child starts classes, it will become obvious the other supplies that they actually need for their classes.

You don’t want to stretch your budget to buy everything on the list only to find that your kids never use the supplies. Another advantage of this way of buying school supplies is that it moves the expense of school supplies to cover a couple of pay periods. You won’t have to spend the money all at once. You can buy school supplies over several weeks or even a month. This helps you budget for this expense more easily.

Pool Your Money and Buy in Bulk

You aren’t the only parents in your neighborhood starting at the list of supplies and wondering where you’re going to find the money to pay for all these supplies. You can organize a group of parents who don’t want to go broke buying back-to-school supplies and buy them in bulk. You’ll need to create a master list of what all the families need and see where you can buy bulk packages of paper, folders, crayons, and other items.

You might consider calling one of your local big-box stores or grocery stores and ask if they can give you a discount on a large order like this. An office supply store might offer you a discount if the order is large enough. If you can’t get a discount from one of the stores, then you can always shop at a warehouse store. They always sell school and office supplies in bulk and at a discount. Once you collect all the money and buy the supplies, you’ll have to hand them out to the other families, but everyone saves some money.

Thrift Stores

While you probably won’t find pencils and paper at your local thrift store, you can pick up a book bag and lunch boxes. People donate a variety of odd things to thrift stores, so you might luck out and locate one of those expensive binders. All the items are usually donated to the thrift store, so you can find some fantastic deals.

You can also outfit your children for back to school. Most of these stores only sell donated items that are clean and in good condition. Your child will need new clothes for back to school — they grow like weeds over the summer.

If you take your time and are willing to wade through all the available clothing, you may find a few hidden gems to outfit your kid for back to school on a budget. You may need to visit more than one thrift store to find what you need. Also, some stores offer an extra discount on specific days, so be sure to ask before buying to save the most money.

Watch for Sales

From the grocery store to Walmart, your local stores bring in a lot of school supplies for the back-to-school season, and they don’t want to get stuck with a lot of leftover stock. For this reason, they begin running weekly sales almost as soon as they get items in stock. You can shop all the weekly ads online to find out who has the best prices on the items you need. If the prices still seem too high, wait. Prices will drop as it gets closer to the first day of school.

After school starts, all your local stores want to get rid of their excess school supplies as soon as possible. They don’t want to have to store it for next year or let it wither on the shelves, so they will put it on clearance. This is a great time to pick up supplies at as much as a 50 or 75 percent discount.

Short-Term Shopping

Yes, your children are going to need more than a single pack of paper and pencils to get through the school year. However, if you’re strapped for cash, you might consider short-term shopping. You want to buy only the basics and just enough to get your child through the first couple of weeks. In some cases, you may find that your child didn’t need everything on the list. Some teachers and schools list more supplies than they actually need. When you do short-term shopping, your child has what he needs now.

You can always buy more paper, pencils, and crayons as your child needs it during the school year. However, you need to encourage your child to let you know when they begin to run low on supplies, so you aren’t making trips to the store late at night or find out they need new pencils when you don’t have any cash left.

At Koster’s Cash Loans, we know how much money you need to get your child ready for school even if they’re learning from home. The list of needed supplies seems endless. Even utilizing some of these methods of saving on school supplies, you may find yourself short on cash. We’re ready to help you with a short-term loan. Contact us today to learn more.

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