If you have multiple school-aged children, then it can be a very expensive proposition to be able to purchase everyone’s school supplies in August as you prepare for the coming school year. With two kids of my own, I’ve seen the ever-expanding list of things my family needs to buy before they even set foot in the classroom for this academic year.
Shopping for school supplies is a lot like holiday gift shopping. It almost takes a military-like precision to find the best deals and get the best products you can for the money. Here are some practical tips to help take the financial sting out of purchasing a lot of school supplies for your children, including clothes for the new school year.
Being prepared is the best thing you can do when it comes to shopping for a lot of items. Scanning store flyers will clue you in as to what stores are selling what items at specific prices.
Some sales will have bulk discounts, like 10 folders for a dollar. If you need many items, a bulk price is a good choice for saving money.
Coupons and Sales
Along with sales flyers, some stores or internet sites will offer coupons to entice shoppers. Examples would be 20 percent off one item or manufacturer’s coupons for specific items of clothing or electronics.
If your list doesn’t have a specific brand name or item, a coupon is a great way to save even more money during sales. Making that store a priority for higher ticket items may be part of your plan to shop during a specific day so you can spend less money.
Sales Tax Holidays
State sales tax holidays around early August happen in 19 different states. The holidays focus on school supplies, electronics and clothes for back-to-school. Remember that not all sales tax will be taken off. If your locality, such as a city, has a sales tax, then they may not have a discounted rate.
Sales tax holidays have limits. For example, perhaps only the first $100 of clothes don’t have a sales tax. The more you spend during a sales tax holiday, the more cumulative money you will save. Depending upon your state, you may earn anywhere from three to seven percent in sales tax that you won’t have to pay on that day. A list of sales tax holidays can be found here at the Federation of Tax Administrators website.
If your family can’t afford school supplies, there are always local charitable organizations that are willing to help. Start your search by contacting or calling your local chapter of the United Way, as they serve as a repository for information on local charities and their activities.
School supply shopping can be a good lesson in family economics. With the right planning and staying within your budget, you can use simple strategies to save money on supplies, clothes and even computers for your children.