15 Easy Ways to Save on Back To School Shopping!

easy ways to save on back to school shoppingDid you know that the average American family spends $400 per child on back to school expenses?

Take a look at these 15 easy ways to save on back to school shopping, and I'm sure you'll find a way to take a bite out of that $400 per child back to school expense!

  1. Resale, Thrift or Consignment Shops: When it comes to clothes shopping, consider giving teens a clothing allowance, and let them make the choice of where to shop. They might think twice about buying a brand new pair of $80 jeans when they could buy 4 pairs of trendy jeans at resale shops like Platos Closet or Buffalo Exchange. Consider it a lesson in budgeting for your teen! Learn more about saving moneyat resale or consignment shops.

  3. Tax Free Weekend: Do you know when your state's tax free shopping weekend is? Check out the complete list of tax free weekend dates by state.

  5. Needs vs. Wants: Back to school shopping is the perfect time to have a discussion about needs vs. wants with your child. Before shopping, take time to organize your child's closet and look through old school supplies, so you can make a list of the items he or she really needs. Then…with list in hand…tackle those needs and avoid the temptation of wants!

  7. Coupon Codes: If you're shopping online…don't leave the coupon code box blank! Ebates.com will help you find money saving coupon codes, and you'll earn cash back on your purchases! It's a win-win! If you're not familiar with saving money using coupon codes, learn how to find coupon codes.

  9. Backpacks: Have you ever thought of T.J. Maxx, Marshall's or Ross for backpacks? Last year, we bought a name brand, $65 backpack for $12.99, it was exactly what my daughter was looking for!

  11. Textbook Rental: If you have a college student, it's time to look into renting textbooks and saving big!
  12. Discounted Gift Cards: Do you regularly shop stores like Payless Shoes, Target, Children's Place or Kohl's? Buy Discounted Gift Cards For Up To 30% Off at Cardpool.com!

  14. Scout Uniforms: You'll find huge savings on gently used Scout uniforms on e-bay!

  16. Haircuts: Oh the ways you can save on haircuts! Try your local beauty school for a haircut at a fraction of the cost. If your son has a basic crew cut, my friend promises it's easy to do yourself…she said her razor even came with hair cutting instructions! Maybe your child only needs a bang trim…did you know most salons offer complimentary bang trims or bang trims for as little as $5. A quick bang trim is an easy way to extend the time between expensive haircuts!

  18. School Supplies: The back to school sales have begun, and it's worth the price of your Sunday paper to check out the massive amount of sale ads and compare prices. You'll always find the Walmart, Target and Office Depot sale insert in the Sunday paper. How about letting your older children look for the best buys and make the shopping list? Don't forget to order a discounted gift card from Cardpool.com to save at Office Depot!

  20. Musical Instruments: New to the band or orchestra? You might consider renting your child's musical instrument or searching Craigslist for used musical instruments. You never know if the band or orchestra is something they'll stick with!

  22. Water Bottles: More than 40 billion plastic water bottles are used each year in the U.S., and about 2/3 of those end up in landfills! Kick the plastic water bottle habit this year, and you'll save about $20 a month. Those cute metal refillable bottles are available for a few bucks at Homegoods, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or Ross. Another option is a Brita® refillable bottle with a built-in filter.

  24. School Projects: Each year we buy so many tri-fold display boards and expensive foam core boards for school projects…only to throw them away at the end of the school year. I've finally come up with an easy money saving alternative…use ticky-tack to adhere the information to the display board, and when the project is complete, simply remove and reuse! You'll even be able to reuse those pricey die-cut letters!

  26. Sports Equipment: Huge savings await you on sports equipment at places like Goodwill, Play It Again Sports & E-Bay. You might also consider trading in your used or outgrown sports equipment at Play It Again Sports.

  28. Swapping instead of Shopping: Consider organizing a clothes swap with other moms.

Please leave a comment to share your easy ways to save on back to school shopping.

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Image courtesy of: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Karen Dawkins
9 years ago

GREAT article. I love that you included a discussion of needs v. wants!!!

My kids want new backpacks every year, but when last year’s is functioning just fine, it’s a complete waste of money. They have a K-2 backpack, 3-5 backpack, 6-8 backpack and a high school bag of some sort. We save a lot this way! 🙂

Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club
10 years ago

That is outrageous! It was about $200/child a few years ago, so I guess that’s the inflation that we all feel, but doesn’t exist somehow;) These are excellent tips, and a great resource. Keep that up…it’s so helpful to readers. I also love your new look here, if I didn’t tell you already:)

Kimberly FiveLittleChefs
10 years ago

I love the ticky-tack idea! We did go through everything before shopping and realized we had what we needed or could make do which saved a lot of money. If they need to be replaced later that is fine. If not, then that is money saved.

The Detox Diva
10 years ago

Kristl, these are all very excellent posts. I am bookmarking these for when my wee ones start going to school. I especially love the part about giving teens (I think this would work with many kids) a budget for clothes!!!

Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families
10 years ago

We got 90% of our back to school shopping done this past weekend during the tax free holiday. I found some great deals on clearance for my son. I love finding a bargain.

Tabathia B
11 years ago

Since college textbook prices have increased we will be renting a few

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth
12 years ago

Love these tips! We are lucky (maybe, but that is a political issue) that we don’t have sales tax in my state, but the rest? Great! My last blog post was about this too, saving money while going green for back to school. 😉

DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman
12 years ago

I’m with Charise! $400! Yikes!

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama
12 years ago

$400??? Yikes!

Great tips!

12 years ago

If your child has decided to stick with an instrument but doesn’t (yet!) need a really high quality one, then you can often find great items on Ebay. A friend got her violin from there very inexpensively, and it was a great intermediate instrument for her until she was ready to invest (violins are really expensive!).

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