The National Retail Federation estimates that average American family will spend $630 on back to school shopping. That includes electronics, apparel and other school needs. The number is actually lower than last year’s estimate of $669.
Families plan to spend an average of $97.74 on school supplies like notebooks, pencils and backpacks. That is the second-highest amount since the recession, according to the NRF. The good news is that some local school districts cover the cost of some school supplies. That helps Nebraska families, compared to the rest of the country.
Here is some advice on how to save on back to school supplies.
Know before you go
Before checking a single back-to-school sales flyer, you need to know two things: what you need, and what you already have on hand.
Local discount and office supply stores now feature checklist kiosks for nearby schools; school web sites are another good source for supply lists.
Shop at home first
Get the list, then look around your closets, drawers and cupboard for items you already have on-hand. Any item already on-hand is a bonus freebie, so check the house for rulers and protractors, pencils and binder paper.
Stick to your list and your budget
School supply aisles look like toy departments. Kids have get big eyes for school-day flash and bling in the aisles. Shop from your list to keep back-to-school spending within a budget.
Once you have an idea of your child’s true needs, establish a budget amount, and create a learning experience by teaching your child about how much you have to spend and where and how you’ll spend that money.
Visit the dollar stores
You can find some incredibly cheap supplies for back to school at dollar stores. You can buy lots of the basic supplies at these stores, compared to some other locations.
Back-to-school loss leaders (products offered at prices below their actual cost to entice you into the store) begin to show up in discount stores and office supply stores mid-July. If you can get the ones you know you’ll need, like lined notebook paper, pencils, crayons and report folders, you’ll spare the budget for big-ticket purchases.
While shopping, keep your eyes open. Most retailer wants a piece of the back-to-school action. You’ll find them in office supply stores, grocery stores, plus just about any other discounty store. Be sure to compare pirces and ads and take them with you so that you can price match if you find a better deal than where you are shopping at that moment!
If you can wait to get supplies until a shor time after school starts, you can take advantage of marked down merchandise. Not only will you benefit from clearance prices, but also fewer anxious shoppers.
That’s the time to stock up on the basics you’ll need all year long such as binder paper, composition books, spiral notebooks, pencils, erasers, crayons and markers.