Frugal tips ease back to school expenses

Pretty soon school bells will ring and children will start a new school year. Now, many parents are in a mad dash to get their kids ready for back-to-school. While the start of a new school season is exciting for some kids, many parents are worried about the hard hit on their wallets. The anxiety of back-to-shopping can be enormous for some parents due to the high unemployment rate and the ever-increasing cost of household goods.

Start your back-to-school shopping by making a list. Use the recommended or required supply list provided by your child’s school. Take the time to sit down with your child and go over the list. This will help both you and your child get organized and ready for back-to-school.

Following are frugal shopping tips to help you stretch your dollar this season.

Look for special promotions. During this time of the year many stores offer amazing back-to-school sales. Watch out for special promotions such as free shipping and those “buy two for one” deals.

Do your shopping during tax free days. Many states offer tax free weekends. This is a great time to buy t-shirts, socks, and school uniforms.

Reuse what you already have. Many school supplies such as backpacks, binders, and pens can have a second life. Take inventory of your leftover supplies from last year to see what can be reused. Also, school supplies from older siblings - that are still in good condition - can be passed down to younger siblings.

Shop at local consignment stores. The end of summer is when many thrift stores receive great, gently-used clothing. These stores offer quality merchandise for very low prices.

Finally, to save on back-to-school shopping it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. With proper planning, you can prepare your children for another school year without breaking the bank. For more tips on raising a frugal family, check out MMI’s new Youth and Money section.

 

Tanisha (Warner) Smith is a former communications manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.