In just a few weeks, many students will find themselves back at school with newly purchased clothes and supplies. The back-to-school season can be an expensive time for parents and grandparents, but it doesn’t have to be — if you plan carefully. Here are a few money tips to get you started.
Stick to Your Budget
As with any event, have a budget. So, what’s your budget for sending the kids — or even yourself — back to class? Back-to-school shopping is just first on the list of school expenses you’ll have during the year. Others include activity fees, school pictures and fundraisers. Therefore, it’s important to set a budget for what you’ll spend on supplies, backpacks, clothes, books and electronics — and stick to it.
August is the best time to catch a good deal on your most-needed school items. Each year, many states allow you to shop tax-free for supplies, clothing and, in some areas, computers. Check out Federation of Tax Administrators to find out when there are tax holidays in your state. In some areas you can get up to $100 off your purchases, which can add up to big savings.
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Search Good Deals
Just in case you miss the tax-free shopping, don’t fret. Retailers like your local discount stores, Staples, Best Buy and Office Depot will have deeper sales on typically higher-priced items, such as computers, printers, ink and phones, now and throughout the year. Download apps like retailmenot.com and coupons.com to receive ongoing sale alerts. Also, shopping online will sometimes provide a better deal than in the store.
Don’t let back-to-school expenses stress your budget. Remember, there will other school-related purchases throughout the year. Search for the best deals your dollar can buy.
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