5 Tips for Back to School Shopping

Autumn is my favorite season and I love going shopping for school supplies!  However, it is easy for me to go overboard, especially since I have six kids.  My tips will help those that homeschool (like me) or not.  These tips also apply to college age students!

Tip #1- Assess what you have

Assess what you already have.  You’d be surprised if you go through all the clothes, shoes, and supplies you have already!  Make a list of what you have, what you need, and what you want to buy.  This list is your starting point so you’re not overspending and buying more than you think you need.

Tip #2- Make room for the new stuff!

Make room for the new supplies and clothes before going out and buying more.  This will help keep your clutter in your house to a minimum.  Skipping this step might make you overwhelmed with everything purchased and previously owned.  Making room sometimes means tossing out anything that is unusable, but to me it also means recycling or donating items that have been outgrown or no longer serving a purpose for your child.  This is especially true with clothes.  I generally shop for clothes in the spring and fall.  We take all the clothes and sort through them.  They are either donated or kept if they still fit.  For six kids, I spend about $75 per season, per child (more on that in the next tip!).
Tip #3 Saving money on Clothes

Clothes can be darn right expensive.  My oldest is a 15-year old boy and he has grown over 12 inches in the past year.  We are constantly buying new clothes and shoes for his growing body!  So, I do my best to check out sales and use thrift stores as much as possible.
Favorite stores for great clothing deals year-round:

I can always count on these stores to have a wide-wage of clothing selection and I will say that we do about 75% of our clothing shopping at Goodwill.  When we weren’t using sales or a thrift store we were spending about $250 per child per season.  That adds up over the years.

For shoes, we buy our boots (living in the PNW, kids need good waterproof boots for hiking) at local sporting stores or REI.  We tend to buy from Payless and take advantage of their B1G1 half off sales.  They also have a military discount, but you have to ask for it.  Another favorite is Famous Footwear.  Be sure to sign up for coupon deals delivered to your inbox for additional savings!  Finally, you may be able to find new or like new shoes at consignment stores and thrift stores.  We have found a few brand new tags still on the shoes at these places.

Tip #4 Saving money on supplies!

Finding deals online or offline can be fun, but it is also time consuming.  Some places are already selling school supplies, but the bulk of sales are coming in August!  Some of my favorite places to shop for school supplies are:

Check to see if these locations are doing price matches (like Staple’s 110% price match going on this week!).

Tip #5 Tax Free Weeks

Not all states participate with tax-free weeks, but the ones that do have some nice deals.  Click to find out what is considered tax-free in your state.

Here’s a list of Participating States & Dates:

  • Alabama Tax Free Weekend – August 7-9, 2015
  • Arkansas Tax Free Weekend – August 1-2, 2015
  • Connecticut Tax Free Weekend – August 16-22, 2015
  • Florida Tax Free Weekend – August 7 – 16, 2015
  • Georgia Tax Free Weekend – July 31 – August 2, 2015
  • Iowa Tax Free Weekend, August 7-8, 2015
  • Louisiana Tax Free Weekend, August 7-8, 2015
  • Maryland Tax Free Weekend, August 9-15, 2015
  • Mississippi Tax Free Weekend, August 7-8, 2015
  • Missouri Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • New Mexico Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • Ohio Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • Oklahoma Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • South Carolina Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • Tennessee Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • Texas Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015
  • Virginia Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

I hope you found these tips to be helpful!  Please comment below if you have additional tips for back to school shopping!  I love to learn how others save money and time!

~Rosemary E. King, SBD is a Birth and Bereavement Doula®, author of How to Hire a Doula, and Reiki Practitioner.  Rosemary enjoys reading John Grisham books, going on adventures with her kids, and volunteering with Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America. The Navy brought her family to the PNW in 2009.  Check out her website, www.rosemaryeking.com for additional information.

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One Response to 5 Tips for Back to School Shopping

  1. Pingback: 5 Tips for Back to School | Rosemary E King, SBD

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