Cut Back to School Costs With These 5 Crucial Tips

Income and Investments Part of a series detailing school supplies - pencils, notebooks, crayons, etc.

School is back in session for us and our oldest, who attends a year-round school, started a couple of weeks ago. Right before she started, I did my back to school shopping to get everything she needs and make sure she was prepped with class materials. We’re a frugal family so we’re always looking for the best deals! 

After doing back to school shopping for a few years, this school run went pretty smoothly and we were able to get what she needs for less than what we budgeted. For many parents, August is the big month to pick up school supplies for the kids. 

Here are some tips on how you can grab essential school supplies and clothes without breaking your budget. 

Check for a Sales Tax Break

While it’s not available for all states, it does pay to check and see if your state offers a sales tax holiday for school supply shopping. It could be for a specific weekend, so it’s best to know the dates sooner rather than later. The best part about sales tax holiday’s is that if you have bigger ticket items like laptops or calculators, you may be able to get significant savings. 

Inventory Check

Before you head to the store and bulk up on all the necessary items your child may need for school, save yourself some money (and time at the store!) by doing a once over with your kid’s current supplies. When we did ours, we found that she had several folders, a book bag, hand sanitizer, and notebooks she could use again. 

Take a look at what each of your child’s classes require for them to have a successful year – sometimes, teachers will have “must-have” items as well as “nice-to-have” items which will help you prioritize during your shopping trip if you’re sticking to a tight budget.

Digital Deals for the Win

Before you leave the house (with kids in tow), save yourself a ton of time by scanning the deals online. Check to see if the store offers price matches, that’ll save you a ton of time as you only need to hit one or two stores instead of several. 

When you’re shopping around online for your kids’ school supplies, use options like Honey to find discount codes before you make your purchase. Use can also check with Ebates to see if you can get a rebate on your purchases. 

Dollar Store Steals

While you may not be able to get all your school supplies here, you can score some big deals at your dollar store. Some high-quality name brand pens and pencils can be snatched up for a fraction of the regular price. Usually, you can also snag a bunch of notebooks and paper too for a lower price. 

If you combine them with manufacturer coupons, you may be able to get them for free! 

Stylish Clothes at Consignment Prices

I’m always amazed at how quickly our girls outgrow their clothes. It’s either a growth spurt or playing hard in them, but there’s this constant need to replace clothes. We’re grateful for friends who pass down their gently used items, but sometimes we need something quickly. 

That’s where retail websites like ThredUp comes into play. You can buy and sell secondhand clothing online and usually, their selection of clothes is fantastic and of high-quality. We’ve been able to buy items that have survived many play dates and recesses. 

Your Take on Back to School Shopping

I hope these tips help you get the best deals on your kids’ school supplies! 

I’d love to hear about your wins. What deals have you found online? What shopping hacks do you like to use? 

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