Back to school season is here, so you need to be planning ahead and preparing your budget!
This will be my first year to have a school aged child! Kindergarten here we come!
Since I’m all about the budget, and paying off debt, I can hardly wait to find all of the best back to school saving tips and hacks.
I turned to some of the best frugal and money saving bloggers to help me gather all the best back to school tips in one place.
Make sure you grab my FREE Back to School Budget Planner by filling out the form below!
The Best Tips and Hacks to Save Money on Back to School Shopping
Make a Plan
- Stick to the list. Erin from Sixth Bloom encourages moms to make a list and stick to it! Having a plan before you go in to the store, is the best way to prevent overspending.
- Set a Budget. Don’t start shopping until you know the budget! Nicole from Struggle Today, Strength Tomorrow, says to set a reasonable budget and follow through with it. She shares some great ideas to get creative with a small budget, such as picking up a summer side hustle, or using rebate and coupon apps.
- Wait for the Best Price. Heather, from Happy Humble Home, says to take note of when you need an item. “If you can’t find a good price on something on your list, wait it out!” She says that some stores will have overstock and need to get rid of it at the end of the back to school rush. Check out Heather’s super helpful Back to School Shopping Planner Printable while you’re on her blog. I scooped up a copy for myself!
- Shop Online. Online shopping is much easier than fighting the back to school crowds! Totally the Bomb recommends online shopping at Office Depot to find great deals! You can save money by taking the time to price compare without feeling rushed.
- Give Kids a Choice. One Crazy Mom has some excellent tips to save, and definitely has some experience with 8 kids! She says a big way to cut the budget is to give kids two similarly priced items and let them know that they can have one, but not both. “This cuts the budget by at least 50 percent for those items and allows your kids to enjoy a want or two,” she says.
- Love what you have. Tabitha, from Love, Tabitha, says “Teach your child that no one really pays attention if you’ve worn that top or jeans before, as long as it’s clean, stain free, free of holes and still fits.” This is so true! Back to school shopping is a great time to teach your kids about gratitude, wants vs. needs…and budgeting!
- Create a Capsule Wardrobe. Less is more! Having a limited amount of mix and match clothing for your kids, will save you time and money. This is an amazing guide for creating a capsule wardrobe for your kids. I also use the Year Round Mom Outfit guide to create quick and easy, but super cute, outfits for myself!
Save Money on School Clothes
- Embrace hand me downs from older children, or even from some of your friends that have children. Katelyn from What’s Up Fagans says, “Hand-me-downs are not perfect, and sometimes they aren’t our first choice in what we would buy our own children, but they are FREE.” I couldn’t agree more!
- Look for pieces that easily mix and match. Kristie from Saving Dollars & Sense says, “Try to buy things that can be mix & matched to create even more outfits with just a few simple pieces.”
- Keep Shoes Simple. Stacey from The Soccer Mom Blog, recommends avoiding light up shoes or shoes that make sound. Not only are they more expensive, but they can be difficult to match with a variety of clothing options.
- Shop Thrift Stores. Jenny from Cook, Eat, Go, shares the best items to look for at Goodwill stores in this post. Thrift stores are a great way to get brand name items for a quarter of the price!
- Shop Online Resale. You can find great deals on gently used clothing on sites like Poshmark or Mercari. Holly at Pink Fortitude shares her best tips for shopping on EBay here.
- Buy Out of Season. Let’s face it…in Texas, our kids will be wearing shorts clear in to November! Diana, from Full of Fortunes, recommends shopping “out of season” clothing to save 80-90% on clearance.
Related: How to Save Money on Kid’s Clothing
Save Money on School Supplies
- Choose quality for backpacks and other frequently used items. Sharon, from Hobbies on a Budget, warns that sometimes the cheap character backpacks just don’t hold up as well. She had to purchase a second, higher quality backpack half way through the year. Make sure you read online reviews and invest in something that will last.
- Shop The Dollar Tree. Heather from Glitter on a Dime, shares some amazing Dollar Tree finds in this post. Pencil pouches, hand sanitizer, binders, and more for only a buck!
- Share the Cost. Jennifer from Mommy Evolution, recommends pooling together with a group of parents and buying in bulk to save big!
- Buy Refurbished. I also love Jennifer’s tip on buying refurbished. It’s been a while since I’ve bought school supplies, and we didn’t have all these tech devices when I was in school! Shopping for refurbished devices will save so much.
- Watch for Loss Leaders. Merissa from Little House Living gives a great tip about watching the front page of store newspaper ads for great deals (some even free after rebate)! I never knew about this, so I was really excited to learn a new way to save!
- Purchase Extra Supplies while they are on sale. Cindy from Living for the Sunshine, says “Prices skyrocket after back to school time finishes, and you’ll spend so much more if your child needs replacement supplies like pencils, glue sticks, etc.”
Money Saving School Lunch Packing Tips
- Avoid buying pre packaged “snack size” foods for kids lunches. Although super convenient, they can be way more expensive! Kristie from Saving Dollars & Sense says, “Buy a full-size bag of crackers and then make your own snack sizes with reusable containers to save a ton on snacks.”
- Use Reusable storage bags. Buying disposable bags over and over again can definitely add up fast! Jessica from Where’d My Sanity Go, uses reusable storage bags to pack lunches for school. She also has an adorable printable over on her blog, with healthy lunch box ideas. I printed one off for myself!
- Choose Waste Free Items. Diane from Suburbia Unwrapped, recommends investing in reusable items now, to save money on your future grocery budget. Items like reusable lunch bags, utensils, and cloth napkins will last for several years, saving you tons of money in the long run!
- Create a mini meal plan. Just like meal planning for our family dinners saves us big on groceries, planning your kid’s lunches in advance can be a huge money and time saver.
I hope I’ve given you some amazing ideas to save money on back to school shopping!