The lure of those incredible deals in those back to school sales is undeniable. Who doesn’t want to save a buck? And with those school supply lists growing every year, parents have to be savvy. Now’s the time to stock up on things your family will use all year, but be careful not to fall into any spending traps!
How to Navigate Back to School Sales Like a Champ
Makin’ a list
First thing’s first, check out the school’s supply list (and stick to it). As you browse the sale flyers, it will be easy to make a list a mile long of deals too good to pass up. You also might assume you know what a Kindergartener needs, but I promise the actual list will surprise you. Look up your child’s school and grade, and then make your shopping list based on that. As hard as it is, don’t buy a thing that isn’t on that list!
Checkin’ it twice
Check your current stock of school and office supplies before you head to the store. Have your child help you in organizing his art and school supplies. This is a great opportunity to create a clean slate and maybe even set up a desk/homework space for your child. Doing this will ensure you don’t buy a fourth bottle of Elmer’s School Glue, even if they are on sale for only 25 cents.
It’s also time to organize your own desk or craft area. I use a lot of spiral notebooks and gel pens, so it’s worth it for me to buy those while on sale. Everything else is non-essential. You might find you’re in a similar situation. Be honest with yourself about your surplus and what items would be better to purchase at, say, a craft store using coupons whenever you run out.
Avoid cheap impulse buys
Remember, just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean you need to stock up. Will your child really use five pink erasers, just because they’re a penny each? (Has anyone ever used up an entire one of those things in a single school year?) Use the money you save to celebrate the new school year with a special treat or put the savings toward back to school clothes.
Donate those “can’t miss” deals
If you can’t help but shop, purchase supplies to donate to one of the many supply drives happening this time of year. This is a fantastic opportunity to teach your children to think of others. You can give your child a budget and make a scavenger hunt out of the experience, culminating with your donation.
Back to school shopping is big business for many retailers, and while you think you’ve made out like a bandit, in reality, they’ve conned you into spending in excess. Nobody understands the rush of adrenaline from a bargain more than I do but think of the money you’ll save from buying only what your family absolutely needs. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: there will be another sale next year!