Is it really almost that time of year again already? Believe it or not, now is still the best time to get your back-to-school shopping done, even though you might still have a summer vacation coming up. Beat the rush, score the best sales, and maximize your budget with these easy tips that’ll make the start of the school year a breeze.
1. Take Stock
You’re already kind of a pro at this, right? You’ve prepared the kids for school before, which means you probably have spare or reusable supplies leftover from last year. So, before you head to the store, take stock of what you still have. From there, you can see what you still need and set a better budget to manage costs. We know, kids aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of leftovers, but they’ll still need new supplies, and hopefully some of our other tips can get them pumped for the new year.
And if you’re heading off to college, see what you can use from home before heading to out shopping. It’s fun to get the dorm ready with all new items, but be sure to save money for other things you may need throughout the year.
2. Shop Early
Now is the sweet spot for school supply discounts. Between now and September, almost everything for your back-to-school needs will be overly stocked and on sale, but the supplies, and sales, won’t last. Sales covering supplies, clothing, computers, dorm supplies, and more are abundant at your big department stores and even your local grocery. So, if you don’t have it in you, or in your budget, to get everything done at once, you have a couple months to get supplies little by little, or add some discounted supplies while you get your weekly grocery shopping done.
3. Earn Instant Cash Back
Earning cash back when you spend money on the supplies you already need is a win-win. And having that earned cash back instantly1 added to your GO2bank account? That’s a win-win-win. Before you head out to shop, search on the GO2bank app for eGift Cards from over 100 popular merchants for school supplies, new clothes and shoes, dorm room furniture, and more! When you buy eGift Cards to the stores before you shop, you can earn up to 7% instant cash back. Then use your eGift Card in-store or online to buy all the supplies you already planned on purchasing. If you have a college student in the family (they just grow up so fast 😢), they can set up their own GO2bank account2 and you can send them eGift Cards to their favorite stores throughout the year. Plus, you get to keep all the earned cash back for yourself! Win-win-win-win!
4. Buy Refurbished Devices
You might get just as excited about new devices as your kids do, but think of what their needs are for the year. Do they need the latest state-of-the-art phone, or just able to call you when they head home from school? Do they need a top-of-the-line gaming laptop, or a great one that will let them write their school papers, search the internet, and video chat you from their dorm room? That’s where refurbished electronics can become your budget’s best friend. They work like new but cost a fraction of the price. If electronics are in the equation for your kids this year, certified sellers and retailers with credentials to fix and sell refurbished computers, phones, and more are your new way to save without having to compromise.
5. Find Student Discounts
Although some stores might not readily advertise it, a lot of them have year-round student discounts. When you’re shopping with children, don’t be afraid to ask about any discounts that might save you all some money. Restaurants, museums, movie theaters, barbershops, bookstores, and more might be willing to slash a percentage off your final price. A lot of these discounts are also applicable if you’re teacher, so don’t be afraid to ask when you’re next up at the cash register!
6. Buy In Bulk
Think you’ll go through a ton of construction paper this year? Consider saving money by buying in bulk. Have friends or neighbors who are also going to be using a lot of the same supplies? Buy in bulk together and split the costs and supplies as a team. You already carpool together, why not share the load and help each other out with common costs you can handle better together.
Regardless of which tips will be most helpful for you this back-to-school season, don’t forget to budget. Whether it’s easier to budget per child, for the whole family, or for the first few months of school, try to find a system that works for you and stick to it after you set it. Maybe now isn’t the best time financially for you to get a year’s worth of school supplies. If that’s the case, try keeping an updated budget that allows you to make school supply purchases every month or every other month instead. Either way, you got this! Now you can really enjoy this last chunk of summer knowing you’ve got your back-to-school checklist covered.
The views and opinions expressed here may not represent the views and opinions of GO2bank, Green Dot Corporation, or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, or business advice.