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14 Ways to Find the Best Back-to-School Bargains This Year

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back-to-school bargains

It is never too late to start thinking about back-to-school season. Families spend a lot of money each year to get kids ready for back-to-school. For example, families with school-aged children expect an average of $848.90 for back-to-school supplies and gear. That’s a total expense of $37.1 billion spent nationally, according to the National Retail Federation, which is an all-time high reported in the annual survey.

Families can save some of that expense by planning for back to school and following some basic steps along the way. You can get organized by using your favorite online calendar to help plan your attack and to keep tabs on budgeting for your back-to-school shopping.

Here are some top ways to save while preparing to send your children back to school with everything they need.

1. Start Early With Weekly Shopping

It’s time to get organized and plan your back-to-school shopping. Prices change frequently, so you want to stay on top of what sales are possible for items your child may need in their backpack. Make a list of items you know will be required for school, focus on the stores with the best selections and prices, collect their sale notices and listings, and schedule your visits to those stores around their sales.

It’s a good idea to enter each store’s sales period in your calendar to keep track of those discount periods. Then, for harder-to-find items, consider watching for price drops at a particular store with good discounts and buy even if you don’t find them on sale to beat the back-to-school rush.

2. You Can Delay the Basics

Some school items will probably drop in price the closer you get to the start of school — such as paper, pens, and notebooks. However, there are also other ways to save on these items, so don’t rush out early to buy the basics. Instead, focus on more specific types of supplies, like a particular calendar or science gear.

3. Scour Everything For Coupons

You probably have access to more coupons than you know. They come through direct mail sent to your mailbox, email spam that includes coupons for specific stores, and even those circulars that are inserted into newspapers. Be diligent about scouring everything and everywhere for coupons.

For example, you can even search online for coupons and discounts for specific items. For example, Amazon frequently offers coupons on school and office supplies, so make sure to check for those bargains. Also, make sure to keep track of coupon expiration dates on your favorite online calendar to make sure you do not let those slip by.

4. Keep Track of Good Deals to Price Match

As you compare prices and collect coupons, keep track of deals at office supply stores or retailers. Then, you can use those deals to negotiate discounts at other retailers that match prices. This is handy, mainly when supplies are limited or sold out at the store offering the initial deal.

5. Sell What You Don’t Need Before Buying

Make sure to go through old office supplies, equipment, and accessories to sell anything you no longer need for school. While at it, check around the house for anything you can sell that is no longer being used. This will give you a good head start on the cash you will need for back-to-school shopping.

6. Save When You Buy in Bulk

If you, a friend, or a relative have access to bulk shopping centers, consider buying items to save money. You can join forces with relatives, friends, neighbors, and other school parents. Buy large quantities of things like pens, pencils, paper, tissues, crayons, brown paper bags, cleaners, and anything children need. Split the cost with your group and divvy up the supplies equally.

7. Shop Without Your Kids

An easy way to save money on back-to-school shopping is to leave your children at home. When you bring your children to the store, they may pick more expensive items than are necessary or ignore your effort to save money. If your children insist, leave a few things that need to be purchased for them to pick out at a store you have already scouted for good prices. Let them pick folders or notebooks, or you can say they can choose their backpack within a budget you give the

8. Buy Used When Possible

If your children must buy textbooks for their classes or certain books needed for other purposes, buy used when possible. This is particularly true for higher education classes, where you can quickly pay hundreds of dollars for one textbook. Check out online selling forums on Facebook, eBay, and other programs that allow sellers to post items. You can find lots of great bargains here, not only on textbooks but on other supplies and equipment.

9. Search for E-Textbook License and Other Textbook Bargains

If you have trouble finding used books, consider alternatives to buying new textbooks. For example, see if you can buy a less expensive e-Textbook license for your book. You can also consider comparing prices at certain retailers for textbooks and checking for coupons before you buy. There is TUN’s Textbook Save Engine or CampusBooks’ search feature that can help you find the cheapest options for specific books.

10. Find Exclusive Student Deals

Many retailers offer student discounts for certain supplies and equipment. For example, Best Buy features College Student Deals, and some technology companies offer specific discount pricing, including high school students. These exclusive student deals can save you big bucks on necessary technology and equipment.

11. Budget For Backpacks

One of the most expensive back-to-school purchases typically is that new backpack that your student thinks they must buy. You can save a good amount by avoiding expensive brand-name backpacks and those themed after movies or cartoon characters. You might find you can make a deal with your high school student, for example, by paying a little more for a quality backpack from Timberland or Rockland. The value is, however, that they have to agree to use it throughout high school. Otherwise, a sturdy, heavy backpack without the flashy brand name will save you money.

12. Time Your Electronics Purchases

Plan those purchases if you know you will have expensive electronics purchases on your back-to-school list. There are two things to consider when planning those expenses. First, consumer experts note that the spring and fall are the best times to buy computers and other electronics. Second, many states waive sales taxes on back-to-school items.

Find out if and when your state tax holiday is and add it to your calendar. Then line up the specials at electronics retailers to see if you can make your purchase at a time when they overlap with your sales tax holiday. Add them both to your calendar to stay on top of the deals.

13. Look for Clothing Deals

It can be expensive to buy new wardrobes for your children to return to school. So start looking for bargains early for clothes. If you have a large network of parents with older children, you can host a clothing swap to see if some items are for your kids and theirs. You can also check with second-hand stores to find clothing your child will like.

14. Take Advantage of Credit Card Offers

You may have credit cards that offer rebates and rewards to help you save money on back-to-school shopping. Make sure you take advantage of those rebates on items you know you will have to buy anyway. Depending on the credit card promotion, you can earn between 2% and 5% back on every purchase. Remember that even small amounts of money can add up!

Image Credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi; Pexels; Thank you!

14 Ways to Find the Best Back-to-School Bargains This Year was originally published on Calendar by .

Add These 11 Back-to-School Musts to Your Online Calendar

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Add These 11 Back-to-School Musts to Your Online Calendar

Is back-to-school season stressing you out? There’s no better cure than your online calendar.

Before that first bell rings, there are a number of items that need your attention as a parent. First, sending your kids back to school involves so much more than dropping them off at the bus stop. If you want them to succeed, you have to cover your bases.

Back-to-School Musts to Your Online Calendar

Using an online calendar, you can make the return to school as seamless as possible. Here’s how:

Sign Up for Classes

You can’t attend school without signing up for classes. While younger kids may not need to choose their classes, there are some registration steps every student needs to take before their schedule is finalized.

Add key registration events, such as immunizations and parent-teacher introductions, to your online calendar, so you don’t miss them. Also, remember that any extracurriculars your kids might want to participate in may have their own registration dates.

School Shopping

School supplies will need restocking before classes resume. Be sure to replace those lost pencils and worn-down notebooks. Scheduling your back-to-school shopping ensures your children have everything they need.

Your online calendar can help you keep track of deals and shopping routes. You can also schedule an inventory day to double-check what you need before going on your spending spree.

Schedule a Haircut

Kids want to look their best for their school pictures, teachers, and friends. Getting a quick trim before school begins will give them the confidence they need for their first day back.

Scheduling a hair appointment in your online calendar is easier than Kindergarten math. However, if getting the kids out of the house on time is a challenge, set a reminder for 30 minutes beforehand.

Clean the House

Kids make messes, particularly when they’re home all summer. So before they head back to school, enlist their help, giving your house a deep clean.

Schedule a cleaning day in your online calendar with a list of everything that needs to be done. You’ll be glad you tackled all the tidying before the semester is in full swing again.

Attend Parent-Teacher Meetings

If your school holds a parent-teacher conference before classes officially start, make sure you take advantage of it. This is a chance for you to meet your kids’ teachers and talk through their expectations for the school year.

Don’t wait: These slots tend to fill up fast. Instead, use smart scheduling links to simplify finding a time that works for both you and your kids’ teachers.

Plan Meals

Have you thought about what you’ll do for breakfast in the mornings? Will you be packing your kids’ lunch, or will they be buying it? What’s the plan for dinners during that first week back?

Making sure your children eat well is critical for their growth and development. Putting together a meal plan before classes start ensures that your kids get the nutrition they need.

Talk Through Your Kids’ Goals

A lot of kids think of school as a waste of time. To keep your kids from feeling this way, sit down with them for a planning and goal-setting session before school starts.

Pick a date and time in your online calendar to talk through their priorities. Maybe their goal is to obtain certain grades or learn a particular skill. Perhaps it’s a long-term goal, such as choosing a career path. Whatever it is, please put it in writing to make it more concrete.

Get Used to the Early Schedule

Summer is a time to relax and have fun, which might mean you’ve been letting your kids sleep in for the past few months. If so, getting up for school as the sun comes up might be a tough transition.

With your online calendar, you can help your kids get back into a solid morning routine. Don’t wait until the night before: The sooner you start, the easier the reset will be.

Tune Up Your Car

Even if your kids ride the bus, you’ll need to shuttle them to extracurricular activities and friend’s houses. So make sure your car is in top shape before it breaks down on the way to soccer practice.

Before the school year begins, schedule a maintenance check for your vehicle. A mechanic will be able to spot problems before they become catastrophes. While you’re there, go ahead and get your oil changed and tires rotated. Knowing your vehicle is safe will give you peace of mind on every trip.

Visit the Doctor

Kids get sick. It’s inevitable, especially in the school environment. However, a check-up at the doctor can make sure your kids are healthy enough to keep germs and viruses at bay.

Add doctor’s appointments to your online calendar. After the appointment, add their recommendations to the notes section of the event. If your kids are planning to participate in sports, this is also a great time to take care of their routine physical evaluation.

Plan a Last Hurrah

Send off summer in style by adding a final day of fun to your online calendar. Planning a last hurrah is a great way to bring summer vacation to a close as school responsibilities take over.

You can plan a day trip, dinner, or other fun activity with the whole family. Consider inviting some of your kids’ friends from school so they can celebrate together. Let your kids get out their remaining summer energy before they’re stuck in a classroom again.

Don’t let the first day of school sneak up on you. Instead, fill up your online calendar with these necessities, and your kids will be ready for another year for fun and learning.

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