There are plenty of places that offer discounts on clothing, and this is very helpful for the budget back to school shopper. However, finding true savings is more than just shopping at discount and thrift stores for clothing. Supplies, lunches, fees (sports, enrollment, field trips), books, and other expenses all add up, increasing costs. However, by thinking like a businessperson you can stretch your back to school money and cut back on your spending. The key is to make choices based on your available funds. Here are five ways to increase your back to school cost effectiveness.
1.Generate a “needs” list. The first thing to do is to figure out what you actually need. You can get lists of fees from your school district which will give you an estimate of how much sports participation costs, as well as what field trips and lunches might amount to. Figure out is actually necessary. Did your daughter really wear out her basketball shoes? Or is the pair from last year still in good shape? Make a list of what you need and how many of them will be necessary. Stick to the list you made. If something comes up that you overlooked, think carefully about why you did not originally have it on the list. Maybe it really is not a need.
2.Hold an inventory. Businesses, especially retail stores, routinely tabulate what they have. Look over your list and figure out what you already have. If some of the items on your list are items that you already have (calculators, folders, and binders are prime supplies that can make multiple appearances each year), check them off. You will not need to buy them after all. Getting rid of redundant spending will save you a bundle each year, and that will continue to add up.
3.Rank you list. After you have crossed the items you already have off your list, it is time to order your list according to most important needs. Immediate expenses, as well as things that cannot be avoided, should be at the top of the list. Accessories, “cool” lunch boxes and other supplies, and excess or trendy clothing should be relegated toward the end of the list. If you run out of money before you can buy a fifth pair of designer jeans, it really is not the end of the world.
4.Create a schedule of purchases. Even though the retailers would make you think that frenzied buying of everything NOW is your only option, you really do not need everything up front. When you make your prioritized list, you can also plan out a purchase schedule. This is a way for you to figure out what you really need now. You can wait to buy the winter coat until October. Or you can get out of the rut of making all of the clothing purchases at the start of the school year. Buy clothing year-round, saving by shopping end of season sales. One or two new articles of clothing is all someone really needs at the outset of the school year.
5.Put some responsibility on your children. Instead of buying everything your student wants, just buy the things she or he needs. Then make an arrangement to have the child pay for excess things. This can be done by giving them discretionary back to school money, or by explaining at the beginning of the summer that you are saving for back to school, and if the student wants extra niceties, he or she will have to do the same with allowance or job money. This teaches responsibility, and also gives them insight as to how expensive things can get.