Kids are expensive and there’s no greater example of this than when you shop for school supplies! These back to school savings tips are perfect for any parent looking to save money on school supplies!
Back to school shopping seems so odd in 2020, doesn’t it? It’s definitely not the same as it has been years past and to me, that makes it seem odd. Maybe I’m just strange in that regard. No matter whether you’ve chosen to begin homeschooling your children (Six Dollar Family), are doing online learning, a combo of both or your kids will be attending face to face, they’ll still need school supplies.
Back to School Savings Tips for Any Learning Style
My own kids will be attending face to face although one of my girls will be taking three classes here at home for a credit by exam situation. As my kids are older, we allowed them to contribute to the decision and weighed the risks vs benefits as a family.
They are both very active in activities and as such, we feel it would do them more harm to be forced to end those activities as long as they’re being provided. The face to face learning option meant we have been in full back to school savings mode.
How to Save Money on Back to School Shopping
It doesn’t really matter which learning style your family chooses, these back to school savings tips will help you with your back to school shopping.
These are the back to school savings tips that I use for my own family which means the tips I’m about to share with you will cover you from the back to school planning stages to the first day of school.
I have high schoolers. Trust me when I say I need to save as much money on back to school as possible.
Ways to Save Money on School Supplies
I’ve heard people say that it is hard to save money on school supplies, back to school clothes and everything that comes with it but the truth is that it’s not.
Like every other aspect of saving money, you just have to be willing to follow savings tips like the ones below.
Organize Before You Shop
Before you step foot in any store or visit any website to shop for back to school supplies (Amazon), you should first take the time to get organized. This means setting your back to school budget, gathering a list of the supplies your kids will need, updating clothing and shoe sizes and planning where you’ll do your shopping at.
This is also a great time to take a look at the back to school sales that are currently happening.
I personally find it helpful to use a back to school shopping organizer like THIS one (Etsy) to keep myself organized a bit better.
Shop as early as possible
Once you have everything organized, it’s time to shop and you will want to start your back to school shopping as soon as possible.
For littles and tweens, you may need to wait for a list of necessary school supplies, but for high school students, clothes and other non-specific supplies, you can shop early. High school supplies are fairly simple and pretty close to what you needed even with technology being more advanced.
If you know your kids are going back to school in August or September, you should ideally start your school shopping by the end of June at the latest.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Buy Used
I love thrift store shopping and believe it or not, my girls do too! Secondhand and thrift shops give them the chance to find vintage styles they love plus new styles and items – sometimes still with tags on – and it gives me the chance to save even more money.
For some families, the thought of buying school clothes used is something they would be embarrassed about or simply would not think about. However, for any family who wants or needs to save money on back to school shopping, they will get over the embarrassment and hit the thrift stores.
If you need to bump up your thrift store savings even more than normal, take a look at my thrift store shopping tips HERE (Six Dollar Family).
Use Hand-Me-Downs to Save Money
Like buying used, hand-me-downs are not something most people think of when thinking about back to school shopping.
Repeat after me: There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs and my kids will not care.
If your family has multiple kids who are able to use hand-me-downs, feel free to pass them down! As long as they’re not ripped, stained or drastically out of style, your kids will be just fine wearing them.
Shop the Back to School Sales Wisely
True back to school sales typically start around the middle to end of July, however, you will begin to see “sales” marketed for back to school shopping far eawrlier than that.
These early sales are usally not really sales at all. They’re simply very clever marketing.
If you do decide to shop these sales, be absolutely certain what you’re buying is actually on sale. This means you will need to know the regular price for what you’re buying before you shop.
Otherwise, you could be walking into a sale that is nothing more than clever marketing designed to make you spend money.
Get Cash Back When You Shop
Shopping for school supplies is already expensive enough. That’s the reason you’re here right? When you’re looking for back to school savings, you need to use every money saving resource you have available.
And getting cash back when you shop is one of those tools.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is what I personally use to get paid bash back when I’m shopping and you should be as well.
When you sign up for a Rakuten account (Rakuten), you will be able to earn cash back on thousands of stores online and hundreds in-store. Then, once every 3 months, they will pay you the cash back you earn by check or Paypal.
Sounds too good to be true, but I promise you that it is. I have earned over $3,000 in cash back since joining years ago. Rakuten has special relationships advertisers that allow them to pay you cash back when you shop with them.
If you’re new to Rakuten, sign up for an account using THIS link (Rakuten) and they will also give you a FREE $10 bonus when you make your first order of $25.00 or more.
Like I mentioned earlier, knowing what the regular price is on what you’re buying is key to not just back to school savings but any savings at all.
Not only does it allow you know when a sale is really a sale, but it allows you to properly compare prices from sale to sale.
Doing so will get you the best deals possible and save you the most money.
Use coupon codes when possible
Coupon codes are your friend when you’re looking to save money on school supplies and since most sites use them, there is no reason not to use them.
Even Amazon has coupons available HERE (Amazon) to help you save. Before you check out – no matter what site you’re shopping on – don’t forget to look for a coupon code.
In-store sales often have coupons as well. These can usually be found in sales flyers or in-store near the front doors.
Use a Free Gift Card
What could be better than saving money? I’ll tell you; not spending it at all!
Believe it or not, it’s quite easy to earn free gift cards these days. I often use free gift cards to buy not only back to school supplies, but also groceries and Christmas gifts.
The first place I earn free gift cards is InstaGC. When you sign up for an InstaGC account HERE (InstaGC), you’ll get 10 points free. You can earn more by completing offers and surveys, watching videos, clicking links and more. Cash out when you reach 100 points ($1) and your gift card is instantly paid after the first one.
My second favorite way to earn free gift cards is Swagbucks. When you sign up for a Swagbucks account HERE (Swagbucks, you’ll earn points for searching the web, printing coupons and a ton more. They have hundreds of gift cards to choose from.
Search for a Freebie to Help Save Money
Believe it or not, you can save money on your back to school shopping with freebies. In fact, this year, we are using two free homeschool curriculum options from my HUGE list of homeschool freebies HERE (Six Dollar Family) this year to get my daughter Emma two public school credits by exam. She is graduating a year early and these are two of the last three credits she will need to do so.
When you’re looking for back to school savings, be sure to look for any offers that have a freebie or a buy one get one free sale attached. You’ll save even bigger if you do.
Take advantage of free trials
Part of back to school shopping is also looking for resources that your children may need during the year. This can include extra resources to help them learn things they’re having trouble with.
In this case, a free trial can be the answer to figuring out whether a specific program will work for your family or not.
We have several HERE (Six Dollar Family) on my list of homeschool freebies. These can go a long way toward finding the right program for your kids.
Best Back to School Savings Tips
There you have it. These are my best back to school savings tips. They can’t erase the cost of back to school shopping entirely, but they can ease it somewhat.
Do you have any other back to school savings tips that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear them!