Get a head start on back-to-school shopping with these great budgeting tips from Denisse Icaza from Ahorros Para Mama!
Getting Ready to Shop for School Supplies
This post is sponsored by Family Dollar.
Back-to-school season is a time when the family budget needs to include school supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, uniforms, shoes, etc. I usually look for sales and use coupons and I still spend as much as $200 per child. And that's a lot of money, especially this year, when I will have 3 school-aged children!
But I have found ways to make sure back-to-school shopping doesn’t make a big dent in my budget. It’s all about planning well, working off a list and being mindful of what is needed and what is not.
Planning Your Shopping Trip
Before you head out, grab your school supply list and check off anything you have on hand. You can reuse certain things from last year or you also might already have some of the supplies on the list. Then, search the internet for the best prices on school supplies, shoes, uniforms and backpacks and plan your purchases. Make a list of every single thing you need and be very specific with the quantities and the price you’ll be looking for.
Bonus: Include your children in this step to help them learn about budgeting and get excited about the new school year.
Working off a List
Family Dollar is always a good place to start with a list since their prices are always competitive and they have most of the items on my kids’ school supply lists. It allows me to not only save money, but time too! In addition to Family Dollar’s great prices, there are Smart Coupons available. Right now, there is a $5 off coupon on school and office supplies purchases over $15 that you can use toward back-to-school shopping so be sure to sign up for Smart Coupons!
A list is one of the most important tools when trying to stick to a budget. And even more so when you are shopping with kids. Set rules before you go shopping with your children. I only let my kids pick certain things like the design on their backpack, lunchbox, main folder, uniform colors and shoe style. I buy the rest of the school supplies according to my budget and the deals I am able to find.
And last, but not least, buy store brands to save more money. Family Dollar has a large variety of toiletries and cleaning supplies that are included in school supply lists. They always cost less than the brand name and often work just as well and are a great value for use in the classroom.
Bonus: Have your kids help you look for the best value for your money. It makes it easier to stick to the list when they are motivated to help.
Being Mindful of What is Really Needed
You do not need to buy everything on the school supply list all at once. You can buy the most important things your child needs (backpack, pencil pouch, colored pencils, pencils and erasers) first and, after a few weeks, send in the rest of the things for the class, like paper towels, tissue boxes, disinfecting wipes, etc. I've done it sometimes and it works fine, but you can ask the teacher first. An alternative would be to start your back-to-school shopping early so you can make it easier on your monthly budget.
Don’t forget to remind your kids to ask themselves whether something they want is a need. Family Dollar makes it a little easier to make those decisions since they offer budget-friendly, trendy choices. It makes school supply shopping much more fun for kids!
What are your best tips to save on school supplies?