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How to Buy School Supplies on a Modest Budget

Written by Jana Angeles 

School supplies can get expensive, especially when you choose high quality notebooks with a hefty price tag attached. While your kids are excited about dumping all the shiny school supplies in the trolley, you may want to look over how much you’re actually willing to spend before going to your nearest stationery store. It’s tough to say no to your kids and maybe one year you were able to purchase that shiny pencil case so that they could be part of the ‘cool’ crowd. However, you may want to reduce spending this year on school supplies. If you’re in for a last minute shopping spree, here are some practical tips to help you save money when shopping for those back-to-school essentials:

Look at home first  

This one’s a no brainer but you’d be surprised at how many things you’ll have lying around the house. There may be unused notebooks, a good packet almost new highlighters and plenty of pencils that can be used for handwriting, etc. It doesn’t make sense to stock up on school supplies your child already has. You do not need to buy them colouring pencils or texters every year. Only buy the supplies your child will actually need throughout the school year and avoid doubling up on items. Not only will this save you money, but it will also save you time having to search the items when you’re at the store.  

Do your research and find out where you can get the best price 

The beauty of browsing online is being able to hunt for the best price on selected school supplies. This is good for those who are serious about saving money and don’t want to spend extra when they can get exactly what they need for a cheaper price. If it’s now time to purchase a new calculator and you know you can save a couple of dollars in one store, don’t be afraid to make the trip there and make the purchase. Also, if you see some of the notebooks you normally buy for your children are cheaper than normal retail value, stock up if you know that they’ll be using the same supplies next year. Bulk buying will help you save money and can provide you with less stress when you have to do it again once the year finishes. 

Stick with the shopping list and only buy what your child needs  

You may find shopping for school supplies can be overwhelming, especially if you enter the store without having a list of what your child actually needs. Before heading to the shops, make a list of these items and review it before leaving the house. You can refine your list as soon as you find out that your child already has some school supplies at home. Bringing a list will help you stick to what you need and avoid overspending. 

Other tips to consider: 

  • Talk to your children before leaving the house: It’s good to have a discussion with your kids about how you will be approaching school shopping for the year. There will be an opportunity for you to tell them that there is no room for the budget to get that cool pencil case they got last year. Negotiate and come to a good compromise on what needs to be purchased. 
  • Encourage your children to look after their items: This point isn’t surprising at all because it’s a common tale that a child will lose a couple of their brand new, expensive colouring pencils in the first few months of school. Sit down with your children and show them how they can take care of their items. Tell them it is okay to let others borrow but also remind them that it’s important that they don’t forget to follow up and make sure that they are returned. 
  • Be smart when purchasing school supplies: We all love a good deal, but sometimes buying generic brand isn’t the way to go if you’re after quality items. Don’t be afraid to pay a little extra on well-known brands instead of their generic counterparts. The last thing you want is to buy a glue stick that is a complete dud! 

School shopping is something to look forward each year. It’s a reminder that your child now has a fresh start in their schooling life and an opportunity to build on their skills. However, it’s important to leave a budget on purchasing school items, sparing yourself the heartache of overspending. 

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