Back to school shopping isn’t just about clothes and supplies. You’ll be revving up your schedule and that of the kids’, and getting mentally prepared for the new school year. And there’s another aspect we can’t forget: saving money! If you want to start the school year off on the right foot the following money-saving tips will help you out.

Clothes’ Shopping: Focus on the Outfits

Kids and teens never stop needing clothes, and all parents know that it’s a big expense. So next time you shop, consider buying sets of outfits. At the store, buy pants, shirts, and shoes (and skirts), etc. that can be mixed and matched. Pre-made store outfits that come in hangers are usually too expensive. Do it yourself by coordinating all of the clothing you buy. It will help you keep better track of what your child needs, and mixing and matching clothes means…well, buying less clothes!  Consider spending a little extra for good quality or check the quality stores during sales.  These closes wear better and last longer and are worth the extra legwork and cost.

School Lunch: Make It A “Bring Your Own.”

School lunches aren’t always the healthiest, and the money spent on them adds up. Unfortunately, convenience, pre-packaged lunches and snacks aren’t that much better. Packing your child’s lunch is always best and cheapest, but many parents feel overwhelmed. This year, set yourself up for success by buying a set of Tupperware just for the occasion. When you have the right tools it’ll be easier to throw in some leftovers and fill up a bottle with some juice. Get creative as well –a variety of fruit, pre-cut and refrigerated the day before will make an excellent, tasty snack.   Consider ‘paying’ your kids a couple of bucks each week to pack their own lunch.  You can oversee it and they get to earn a bit of spending money.  This is also an easy way to teach them good eating habits.  

Supplies: Keep It Simple

School supplies can get expensive, especially when your child has various after-school activities. Whenever you can, buy as many reusable items as possible: instead of regular pencils, purchase mechanical ones; rather than expensive notebooks, opt for buying reusable placeholders, sturdy three-ring folders, and loose-leaf paper. If possible, buy these items in bulk for the school year and shop early! 

Talk to friends and neighbors early about setting up carpools.  It saves time and gas, reduces the craziness and also makes it easier to get the kids out the door – especially if a good friend is part of the carpool.  

Buy teacher gifts/gift cards when they come on sale and keep them.  You’ll be happy you did this when your child comes and says tomorrow is ‘ teacher appreciation day’

If you signed up for online classes or other activities just to keep the kids busy during the summer, don’t forget to cancel them.  Its easy to forget and have your credit card charged every month.  

Keep your eyes open and breathe .. remember school ends in June!