by Dawn Antestenis, Expert in Frugal Living at Fresh Start Women's Foundation
Back to School shopping is expensive – it’s official!
It is estimated that back to school shopping makes retailers $70 billion every year.
So what does that cost the average family? It may be more than you think!
The National Retail Federation estimates that the average family will spend about $688 on School Supplies in 2012. While shoppers online will spend even more, averaging closer to $900 on school supplies for their children this year.
Thankfully there are some top tips that should help you save $ this year.
Tip 1: Check what you already have against the List
We all dread that ever expanding list of essential school supplies and clothes required for our kids as they head back to school. But maybe it isn’t as overwhelming as it first seems. Start out by checking the list against what you already have. Maybe a brand new calculator isn’t required. With clothes a quick check through their closet may reveal clothes from last year that still fit and are in great shape. Mix and match these with some new clothes and you’ve already saved $$$$.
Tip 2: Chat with other parents
Everyone is in the same boat so have a chat with other parents to find out what deals they have already found and learn from their mistakes.
Tip 3: Avoid last minute shopping
It may be that you have no choice but if you can, avoid last minute shopping. With high demand for supplies at this time of year it may be that when you get to the store items are out of stock and all the deals are gone. If you are met by empty shelves on a last minute run to the stores then try online.
Tip 4: Get Thrifty
It’s not just fashionable it’s sensible to get thrifty! Garage sales, Goodwill, and kids resale boutiques are great resources for stocking up on clothes for the new school year. If you have never checked out thrift stores for clothes trust me and visit your local kids resale boutique - you will be amazed at the quality and excellent condition of what you find there and you will save $$$$.
Tip 5: Shop Year Round
If you can, always have a look out for excellent deals on supplies and clothes throughout the year. This way you can make the most out of sales, coupons etc. at big stores like Staples and OfficeMax. Also shopping year round spreads the cost and avoids a big bill at this time of year!