Chances are you have gotten, or will soon receive that dreaded list of required back to school supplies in you inbox. This can be a source of great stress for families on a budget. The National Retail Federation estimates that families with children elementary through high school will spend an average of $687 this year on school supplies.
So how do you stretch your dollar when doing this pre school year shopping trip?
Here’s a few tips:
Check Your Closet: You might have school supplies around the house of which you are unaware. Check your child’s backpack from last year. What did they bring home from last year that can be re-used or re-purposed?
Have a Swap: Get together with other parents in your neighborhood and have everyone bring unused or gently used supplies that can be traded. Another mom or dad’s trash can be your treasure.
Shop Frugally: Look for deep discount dollar stores in your community. Also, consider shopping at local Chicago area thrift stores. These stores often have unused backpacks and book bags that can be acquired for a nominal cost.
Set Limits: Talk to your child before heading to the store. What is the one truly special or name brand item they want for this school year. Consider purchasing it and telling them everything else will be “no frills”.
Remember these type of experiences between parents and children can be teaching moments. Talk with your children about money management and getting the most for their dollar. An important lesson to teach even before the school bell rings for the upcoming school year.