Back-to-school shopping is typically finished before the most common well-known discount days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But with parents spending around $848 per child and upwards of $1,200 for college students, finding ways to save this school year can help relieve some of the costly burden.
Although strategic use of credit cards can help spread out the expense and maintain checking and savings account reserves, one should never shy away from money saving tips that can help parents negotiate back-to-school spending.
Top 5 Money Saving Tips For Back-To-School Shopping
1. Take Stock of Supplies and Ask What Is Truly Needed
The first money saving tip we have is to avoid making unnecessary purchases. Take some time to go through your existing school supplies to see what you have on hand. It’s surprising how many items get tucked away and forgotten from one year to the next. Jot down what you already possess to avoid spending money on duplicate purchases.
It’s also essential to check with your children and their teachers about what school supplies are needed. Teaching methods have changed and so have the tools needed for a successful education. For example, there was a time when calculators were the only technology students were required to bring to school. These days, multiple types of technology are needed. By checking with students and teachers, you can ensure your purchases are limited to only the essentials. It's also important to research whether or not your school district provides any type of technology to its students, which could save you the additional expense.
2. Make a Budget
Families on tight budgets sometimes need to stretch every dollar. Start by making a realistic budget and determine what your family can put towards back-to-school purchases. If it looks tight, calculate the use of a new low-interest credit card and see if there are any promotions for 0% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) or discounted rates for an introductory period. Taking advantage of introductory credit card offers could help you avoid paying interest. Not sure if another credit card is the right decision? Review our blog, "Wondering How Many Credit Cards Should I Have? Here's Your Answer."
3. Wait It Out
One of the money saving tips that requires some patience involves waiting until after Labor Day to purchase a portion of your back-to-school needs. Retailers need to sell school-related inventory to make way for fall and winter products.
This means back-to-school items may be headed for clearance racks come September. By purchasing only what your child needs to start the school year, you can circle back and get other products at lower prices.
Spreading out the high cost of back-to-school clothing and materials over a few months can also take the stress out of shopping. A low-interest credit card adds little interest to these important purchases. Some of the best credit cards have a no-interest grace period and rewards points. Using plastic wisely ranks among the smartest money savings tips to ensure your child has everything they need to succeed at school.
4. Compare Prices Before You Buy & Price Match
With many products listed on retailers’ websites, comparative shopping has never been easier. Many big box outlets are lowering prices and one-upping each other to attract shoppers. They want your back-to-school business and are willing to go the extra mile. One of the top money saving tips involves resisting the impulse to buy everything from one store. Retailers sometimes attract buyers by setting extraordinarily low prices on certain items in hopes you buy others while shopping. Don’t hesitate to cherry-pick from the best deals each retailer offers. Consider using a credit card with rewards when making your purchases so you get points that can be redeemed in the future.
5. Take Advantage of Discounts and Other Cost Saving Opportunities
Retailers don’t always keep educators in the loop about teacher discounts. Stores sometimes send marketing information to schools, colleges, and universities, but it’s also a good idea to check area stores that simply offer discounts at the register. Student discounts don’t seem to get the same advertising push parents and teachers receive, but there are plenty of back-to-school discounts for college-bound adults. When shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, bringing your student ID could save you money. It may be a good idea to keep a running list on your phone of places that offer discounts so you can use it again in the future.
Tax holidays are something of a windfall for parents who spend back-to-school dollars every year. If you live in Georgia or South Carolina, here's what you can expect this back-to-school season.
South Carolina reportedly plans to have a 72-hour tax-free holiday from Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, 2022. That means shoppers save 6 percent on previously taxed items. In the past, Georgia held a tax-free holiday from July 31st through Aug. 1st. That hasn’t happened in a while, but there are few signs lawmakers will make it happen before school kicks off.
Peach State Can Help
We know that with the excitement of back to school shopping, there's also an added expense for many families. Peach State offers a variety of Visa credit cards to fit your needs, including cards with low interest rates to help temporarily lighten the burden of these additional costs.
If using your debit card fits your lifestyle better, always remember that every time you swipe your Peach State Visa Debit Card, Peach State donates a nickel to the non-profits, school systems, and arts in the communities we serve.1
1 $0.05 per transaction of Peach State Federal Credit Union’s merchant interchange income from our Visa Debit Card program is used to benefit the communities we serve. Peach State will determine where/how funds are disbursed. This does not affect members’ accounts, nor will any member information be disclosed. You will not incur any additional fees or charges from this program. Merchant interchange income is derived from fees that a merchant pays to accept credit/debit card payments. The C.A.R.E.S. program may or may not apply to ATM transactions, certain commercial transactions, or other transactions not processed by Visa.