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Go ‘back to school’ on budget

Posted: July 23, 2009 9:58 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Back-to-school shopping can be an exhausting and expensive experience and many parents start off on the wrong foot before they even get to the store.

But there are simple ways to make this annual shopping trip efficient and affordable.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American family spends $385 on school supplies for elementary school students — the bulk of which is being spent on clothing, electronics, shoes and school supplies.

With more families feeling the pinch of the economy, that simply isn’t a feasible amount to spend this year. Follow a few simple tips and you can save money and time.

Get a list from your child’s school
According to a recent survey from Healthtex Children’s Clothes and Trone, Inc., 39 percent of parents fail to make a list of the back-to-school items they need.

Once you’ve got a list, stick to it. Thirty-five percent of parents admit to purchasing school clothing and supplies using the “I see it, I like it, so I buy it” motto, according to the survey.

Why buy what your child won’t need?

Make a budget
According to the same survey, 45 percent of parents do not make a back-to-school shopping budget.

Use your list to figure out what you absolutely need and compare with your household budget to determine how much you can spend.

Make it a fun family activity to search out the lowest prices on things you need and give a small prize to the person who saves the most money.

Affordable, fun clothing
One of the biggest back-to-school expenses are new clothes.

Shopping summer sales can be a great way to score bargains on the outfits you need. Kids will outgrow a $40 shirt just as quickly as a $10 shirt, so think affordability and durability. Stick to stylish, durable, age-appropriate clothing that’s always affordable like Healthtex clothes. Each item is only $8.

Added savings
Buy school supplies like notebooks, paper, pens, binders, scissors and glue in bulk at warehouse stores for extra savings or stock up when the dollar store has them available.

Whether you’re shopping online or in the store, use coupons or online coupon codes. You can save hundreds of dollars on the clothing and supplies on your list.

Stop before you hit the store
Before you even head out the door, “shop” around your house first. You’d be amazed what you can find when you look around in drawers and in the back of your closet.

You may even find a bounty of pens and notebooks you’d stocked up on earlier, and then put away and forgotten about.
-Courtesy of ARA Content

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