Back-to-School – three words that strike dread into the hearts of students and parents alike. The kids are dreading the loads of upcoming homework and tests, and parents are dreading the drain on the bank account that Back-to-School shopping entails. While there’s not much to do about reducing the amount of homework, spending can be trimmed without skimping on quality or quantity; in fact, you can simultaneously save money AND increase the quality of the goods you’re buying – ready to learn? Let’s go!
1. Let sales dictate what you buy and when.
*You don’t need to buy ALL items in one shopping trip. If sales dictate your purchases, you’ll find different items on sale each week (sometimes for free), and in total get everything for a cheaper prices.
*Instead of going to multiple stores, select one store that has the best deals or divvy up the shopping responsibilities with a friend or family member, and each hit different sales.
*For clothing, instead of going to a specific store in hopes of a good sale, wait until you receive an email, text, tweet, or see on their Facebook Fan Page when there’s a sale or a coupon available. Or check out www.livefabuless.com, and I’ll have it all easily available for you!
*Items should be picked up throughout the year when they’re on sale. Even if not needed immediately, if an item is 50% off or more, it’s well worth the sale.
2. Buy more than what’s on the list.
*School supply lists are just suggested quantities – it’s a great idea to buy more than what’s required while prices are low to ensure you don’t have to run out to a store while the kids are in the middle of a project – which always seems to happen!
*Since many stores will basically be giving away items, grab some additional supplies to donate to your children’s school or to needy families.
3. Don’t assume discount stores are the only place for discounts.
*In the weeks leading up to school, many expensive stores, particularly office supply stores (e.g., Office Max, Office Depot, and Staples) will have unbelievable deals on school supplies, including many items for a penny or even for FREE.
*When it comes to clothing, keep an eye on higher end mall stores like Gap, Gymboree, and Macy’s. With a good sale and/or coupon, you can often scoop up clothing for less than discount stores.
4. Shop online.
*Avoid crowds and shop from your couch. Free shipping and online coupon codes offering additional savings are plentiful. You can also receive additional cash back when shopping at many national retailers and specialty stores (Target, Gap, Kohl’s, JC Penney, The Children’s Place) when you use a cash back site such as Ebates.com.
*Online shopping is best when items can be returned or exchanged in store or the online retailer offers free returns and exchanges. Bargains can also be found in unexpected places. For instance, brand name shoes can be found for 70% off retail at www.Amazon.com. Scoring a brand name, high quality shoe for less money than a no-name brand form a discount store is more preferred to everyone’s liking.
5. Take advantage of price matching/price adjustments/competitors coupons.
*Many major retailers, office supply chains, craft stores, and online sites will match their competitors’ prices and/or accept others’ coupons. Be sure to familiarize yourself with their policies, as there may be exclusions.
*Some stores will beat a competitor’s price by 10% (e.g., Endless.com, Best Buy Shoemall, Zappos.com).
*If you purchase an item that goes on sale within 7 – 14 days, you might be eligible for a price adjustment. Customer service will refund the difference between the current reduced price and they price you paid. To see a list of stores and their policies, check out priceprotectr.com.
6. You don’t have to buy it all before the first day of school.
*Simply purchase the essentials, and then buy later when it’s on clearance. That’s when you scoop up the rest of the year’s supplies.
7. Invest in quality where it counts and “cheap out” where it doesn’t.
*Minimize your spending on items that don’t need to last – tops, bottoms, dresses – but invest in quality where it counts – coats, jackets, sneakers, and backpacks. Consider LL Bean and Lands End for backpacks – both guarantee their backpack for life. Yes, you might spend a bit more, but you’ll have a backpack that lasts.
*Set a budget. For younger children, if you shop sales and use coupons, you can find reasonably priced items. For pre-teens and teens, a great lesson is to give them a set budget to spend and let them decide how to spend their money – you’ll be amazed at how much more carefully they spend their “own” money than they do yours!
8. Time to try it out!
*Your time is just as valuable as your money. The goal is to minimize your effort and to maximize your savings. Go to www.livefabuless.com now and see for yourself!