Back To School Savings
Posted By :Dan Moore
Posted At : Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010
It can be assumed, save some sort of anomalous shift in the cyclical nature of society, that the youth of the United States will soon be making their annual, end-of-summer migration from their parent’s couches back to their principle’s classrooms. It can also be assumed, whether these children are elementary school students eagerly advancing a grade, indolent high-school seniors salivating to graduate, or college freshmen marching triumphantly into the dorms, that this universal sojourn back to the world of books, binders, pencils, laptops and backpacks will require a relatively generous financial investment by a parent or guardian. And given the exhausted state of the economy, with shopping centers showcasing far more for-lease signs than “now hiring” placards, such a financial investment can potentially cripple a parent’s bank account, at least if the following back-to-school savings guide is not adhered to.
Take inventory, make a list
Before buying a new binder, notebook or backpack for your fifth grader, scour the house for any recyclable items from years past. Often in the junk drawers of old desks there are extra pencils to be utilized, along with an abundance of forgotten erasers and stacks of usable lined paper. Document what your child really needs, and how much of it. Once a complete inventory has been taken, a list can be made and then, hopefully, adhered to. The same goes for clothes. For most kids, the only part about going back to school they enjoy is going to the mall with their parents and pressuring them into making over-priced purchases of clothes they will soon grow out of; as a parent, you must resist your child’s shallow demands, or at least compromise with them, and help them construct a wardrobe consisting of as many hand-me-down shirts as designer jeans.
Procrastinate (a little bit)
Almost as important as displaying diligence and self-restraint at the mall is being patient in making that fateful pilgrimage to it; most stores drop the prices of school supplies and clothes significantly a few weeks after school has started. If your child’s tattered binder can last two more weeks, or if your daughter’s old dresses can last her until the prices drop, then hold off on buying new stuff until they have been put on clearance. However, it is widely asserted by many back-to-school experts that buying certain supplies (like a student’s first graphing calculator) in June and July is essential. Whatever you do, avoid the early August back-to-school rush.
Buy computers straight from manufacturer
Avoid, at all costs, large chain electronic stores when buying a new computer. The sales to be found at the Apple Store, for instance, such as being given a free printer and I-pod touch along with your purchase of a MacBook, are simply too good to pass up, and don’t exist at Best Buy or Staples.
Go to dollar stores for cheap supplies
Obviously, the best deals on items like notebooks and pencils are to be found at dollar stores. Bring your kid with you when you venture to them, as such trips are good chances to instill in your kid an appreciation of saving money. Also, check out yard sales for cheap, used supplies.
Utilize sales-tax holidays
Many states offer temporary sales-tax holidays during back to school time. For instance, Illinois has a sales tax holiday on tap for August 6 through August 15. However, most states put a ceiling on how much you can buy without being taxed; in Connecticut, for example, that limit on clothes is 300 dollars worth. Still, such opportunities should be taken advantage of.
Sending your student back to school does not have to debilitate your debit card. Buy only what is necessary. Be aware of the myriad of saving-opportunities around you. Good luck.