5 Budgeting Tips for Getting Back-to-School Necessities Without Going Broke

Whether it’s summer and you want to get a head start on purchasing some back-to-school supplies or it’s the middle of winter and your children are running out of essential school items, knowing where and how to find the best deals will keep you from breaking the bank when shopping.

The following list will help you prepare for your shopping trip and save you money on your children’s back-to-school necessities.

1) Know Your Budget

Before you leave the house, determine how much you are willing and able to spend on school items and do not stray from it. By knowing your budget ahead of time you will be less likely to overspend and find alternatives to high-cost items.  You are more likely to make wise trade-offs when you compare and contrast the “necessity” value versus affordability

2) Keep a List

If you keep a master list of the school supplies that each child needs and stick to it, you will eliminate impulse purchases that were not budgeted for.

3) Go Online (Even In-store)

Sign up for email lists for your favorite online stores. Most will send you exclusive deals and money-saving coupons throughout the year. Also, don’t forget to do an online search of items you are in need of and dig for printable coupons or codes you can use at your favorite websites.  Websites like Fatwallet or RetailMeNot can be a good place to start.  Amazon has a mobile app called Price Check that will tell you their price for the exact same product simply by scanning the barcode (get the Android version or iPhone Version free.)

One not well-known fact is that Target will even price match Amazon’s online prices when you're shopping in-store.  So, scan away and take the items with cheaper prices at Amazon to the customer service desk.  They will do a quick verification and adjust the price accordingly.  A few extra minutes of time can often result in savings that are pretty dramatic.

4) Grab the Sunday Newspaper

Don’t forget that your Sunday paper always shows the sales ads for the week ahead. By laying out the ads and determining what you need ahead of time, you can find back-to-school items at the lowest price possible. Also, keep in mind that stores like Target and Walmart will often price match if you find an item at a lower price somewhere else. 

5) Go Shopping Alone

You may think that taking your child with you is a good idea, but think again. They will undoubtedly pick up extravagant or extraneous items that weren’t on your list.

Regardless of how you decide to budget for back-to-school necessities, only you know what’s best for your family. You know your spending habits and limitations, as well as what bstacles tend to continuously get in your way when trying to save money. Once you begin to budget correctly and get into the habit of saving money, being able to purchase what you need while keeping your hard-earned dollars in your wallet becomes a fun challenge.