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As it gets closer to the beginning of a new school year, millions of families are getting prepared for back to school shopping. The rush represents a period of happiness for children and retailers but can cause a financial hit to many parent’s pockets. The average family spends around $640 on new supplies, clothes, shoes and technology just to send their children back to school. Avoiding marketing tactics, maintaining a budget, while refusing to give in to your children’s wants are all easier said than done but possible.

Here are some quick tips on how to keep more money in your pockets during Back to School Shopping:

What do you already have?

Before going out and buying brand new supplies and clothes, figure out what your children already have that can be reused for the upcoming year. This is a good way to cut down unnecessary spending. Once you know what you have, you can make a list of items needed.

Talk to your children about taking better care of their supplies. Expensive items like calculators and computers can become a burden of an expensive if a new one is needed every year.

Know how much you can spend.

Make a plan. A budget is key to keeping your money in your pocket. Figure out what you can spend and stick to it. Try not to give into impulse buying or your children’s wants. If you respect the budget, they will too. Set a budget for supplies and a budget for back to school clothes.

Use a shopping list.

A shopping list is a helpful tool when it comes to sticking to the plan. If pen and paper seem a little old school, we suggest a few apps that can help you stay on track. The shopping list is a reminder of what you need, if it is not on the list you do not need it. Remember to factor in before and after school activities when creating the list. Thinking ahead will save you money. Apps like Wunderlist, Buy Me a Pie and Cozi Family Organizer can help you create a shopping list and stay on budget.

Check for coupons in your newspaper or on your smartphone.

Stay updated on store sales and coupons in your local paper or smartphone. Coupons.com, Shopular.com, and Groupon.com are some websites/apps you can find great deals to help you save money on Back to School Shopping

Space out your purchases.

Buying everything at once isn’t always necessary or the best for your pockets. If you need to, space out your purchases and wait for the prices to drop. Keep in mind Back to School Season isn’t always necessarily the best time to shop for school needs. Take advantage of sales like Black Friday and other yearly shopping discounts to save money.

Do not over spend on an item that won’t last. 

If it isn’t going to last, do not waste money on it. Notebooks, binders, and similar items have a short lifespan. Instead of buying the $3 notebook, opt for the 98 cent notebook. Only spend money on items of good quality and that will have a longer lifespan, such as book bags and lunch boxes. Only buy what’s needed and do your best in avoiding the full price.

Check out your local salvation army/ thrift store for discount clothing and supplies. Your local food bank, churches and other non-profit organizations may also be giving out school supplies to the community.

College Students

For those college students, textbook prices can be a drag. Check out discount websites to save you and your college student some money. Cheapesttextbooks.com, Textswapr.com, Studentbooktrades.com and Amazon.com are some sites that can help you out.

Order in Bulk

If you have a community full of parents, or your circle of friends are all getting ready to send their children back to school, think about throwing a Supplies for School Party and order supplies in bulk. Most children need the same things when going back to school, so cut down the price with some friends or neighbors. Everyone can chip in and order from sites like Amazon and Jet.com.

Your NC Community Credit Union understands that Back to School is an expensive time of year you cannot avoid. Hopefully these tips will help you Do More With Your Money on your next Back to School Shopping Trip.

If you would like more information on general budgeting, sign up for one of our FREE CLASSES HERE.

Need some extra funds for back to school shopping that you can pay back on a monthly basis? Ask us about a personal loan for back to school shopping – you can APPLY easily Online Now!