Elementary-age children, friends on school campus head back to school.

6 back-to-school budget tips for parents

As summer comes to an end, the back-to-school shopping lists are growing faster than your kids! Most likely, you’ll not only need to buy school supplies, but clothing and shoes as well. It may seem like your children grew a foot taller in just a few months!

You can still enjoy the summer weather without stressing about breaking the bank buying back-to-school items.

Here are some ideas for a budget-friendly back-to-school shopping experience:

1. Clean out your closets

Take inventory of what supplies and clothing you already have on-hand. Use up everything you can. After all, when your children finish school, you likely won’t need a Pokémon binder or colored markers. Use them while you can!

2. Swap with friends

Trade toys, school supplies, books, clothes, shoes and more with other neighborhood parents. Your child may have grown out of an item or trend, but your neighbor’s kid may love it!

Also read: Start volunteering as a family!

3. Look on yard sale websites and social media pages

The number of community yard sales pages is growing quickly on sites like Facebook. Along with traditional summer yard sales, use the internet to find used items that are still in great condition.

Search for everything you need, from binders and paper to clothing and shoes. You may be surprised at what you will find! Don’t forget, you can negotiate prices! Look at sale advertisements from local stores to make sure you are getting a good deal on the used version.

4. Hold off on winter clothes

Your children may need a new uniform, shirt, or pair of pants; however, they don’t need all of their clothes before school starts. They may grow, styles may change and surely there will be more sales!

Also read: Why I pay my kids to do household chores

5. Stick to your list

Most likely, your school published a supplies list. Stick to that list, along with your own list of clothes that are actually needed. Your kids do not need the latest fad version of folders and binders either. Buy basic, and don’t be tempted to buy extra items, because every dollar adds up quickly.

6. Use online cash-back shopping!

If you’re buying online, search for cash-back sites, such as Ebates. Simply by creating a free account and clicking their link to access the store, you may receive extra cash back. And you can continue using these sites all year long!

Many people procrastinate their back-to-school shopping, leaving them little time to find the best deals. Since back-to-school spending can quickly add up, the best strategy is to plan ahead to avoid unnecessary stress.

Also read: Tips for raising money-smart kids

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Michelle Budzien

Michelle Budzien is an Accredited Financial Counselor for askFinancial Wellness. She also assists with the Foresters Everyday Money financial helpline, providing unbiased financial coaching and education with the goal of improving the financial well-being of Foresters members. Michelle enjoys writing about all aspects of personal finance such as budgeting tips and tools, debt management, understanding credit, analyzing future needs, and industry trends.