My son, Jack, has been in preschool and although he may not have a school supply list yet, I am well aware of the looming cost.
Parents may be a little more excited to get junior back on his or her normal schedule. Rest assured. While it seems like summer has only just begun, in reality, schools starts back up in less than a month for many grade and high schools.
Instead of waiting until the week (or night) before classes to start buying school supplies, take a hint from me and shop now! Major retailers have already begun sending out their schoolroom specials and promotions for the supplies and styles you need for a successful 2014-2015 school year. http://www.school-supply-list.com/
Shop From Home — and at home
When you’re looking at every supply individually, back-to-school shopping seems relatively inexpensive. However, those calculators, sneakers and folders can add up fast. According to the National Retail Federation "https://nrf.com/" National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-School Survey “families with school-age children will spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics.” https://nrf.com/
Usually, schools and teachers will provide a suggested list of back-to-school supplies. Cut costs by taking this list and making a budget. For even more savings, keep trimming these expenses by starting from home. Have last year’s scissors? Use them. Colored pencils and crayons can easily be sharpened and reused. Consider borrowing or swapping from your neighbors with older kids that have passed on to the next level in school.
The same goes for gym shoes and clothing. Since your kids are likely returning to school when temperatures are still high, hold off on buying fall gear until the end of fall, when these items are on sale.
Your kids aren’t the only ones who will be doing homework. Do some yourself, and create some significant savings. Check out retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target. These stores will price match exact items. https://corporate.target.com/about/shopping-experience/shop-with-confidence
You can also save yourself time in the check out line by checking out weekly promotional ads or fliers first. For tech-savvy savers, consider using your smartphone to help you get the best deals. Apps like Amazon Price Check and The Find make comparison-shopping easy. http://www.thefind.com
If you take nothing else from this post, please remember one thing – start shopping now. Like everything else, you will save money by simply planning. And I consider that the best way to start the school year.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.