It is that time again…they are going back to school! My daughter is going into her last year of elementary the big Grade 5, and my son is entering grade 2. Back to school shopping can be MORE expensive than Christmas for some families. I wanted to take a moment to share some of the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years when shopping on a budget. Please feel free to comment and add your own tips. I know that parents are always looking to save money when preparing for back to school!
I love Old Navy as it has Great back to school options at reasonable prices. They have the traditional “uniforms” that you can purchase if your school has a uniform policy like “white shirts, slacks and skirts.” If you’re like me, and just need a couple of outfits to add to your kids wardrobe, Old Navy is amazing. Every year they come out with their own “tote bag.” This bag gets you an extra 10% off on top of any sales already. If you are a lucky customer you will receive a “customer satisfaction survey” to complete this also gets you another 10% off. You can combine these together as well as any sales already. This has saved me hundreds of dollars in the past 10 years.
Now if Old Navy isn’t your cup of tea, Hately is a bit more expensive generally speaking. If you pop in to the store on Government St. sometimes they have a clearance rack that has some great discounts. Hately.com is Amazing. I’ve bought my son all of his T-shirts and long sleeve shirts at approx. 50%-70% off. This works out to a similar price compared to Old Navy, and Hately’s quality is hands down the best!
Now onto the supplies! Monk Office is my favorite place to do the school supply shopping. They have all the supplies on the school lists and it’s all very easy to find. For my two kids I usually pay under $40 each for all the supplies which usually includes some of the “extra” stuff.
Walmart is Ok, but I found it difficult to find the right items, they have lots of generic brands, but some schools want specific brands for safety and quality.
Staples is pretty good. You may pay a tiny bit more and with it being so close to September they may have run out of a few essentials like the “Hilroy lined/half lined” paper books.
Back to School Food
Food can cost a fortune when trying to fill up those hollow legs that all kids seem to have. They lived on what seems to have been BBQ all summer, but now want to eat everything that they see.
If you have a Costco membership, or know someone who does, this can be a big $ saver. For example, my son loves FIG bars. I can buy a box of 6 at Thrifty’s for $5, or get a box of 24 for $12.99 at Costco! If you can’t go to Costco. I find Wal-Mart to be pretty comparable.
Walmart does not have a very big organic selection but they have enough to get the basics for lunches. If you can brave the crowds at Walmart you will save some $.
The Root Cellar is a Great place to find reasonable produce. The key times and days to go are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. On these days they do a 2-day special. Earlier in the day is the time to go because they have “reduced to clear” racks which have a wide variety of fruits and veggies’ on their last days 😛 😉
Back to School Electronics
Every kid wants the latest and the greatest screens. This is where parent’s fork out an arm and a leg for the kiddos. If you need to buy a laptop, I would highly recommend getting one second hand. Gizmo’s and Mother Computers have many government surplus laptops that are completely rebuilt, and are usually tough as nails.
These machines are going to get a workout over the school year, so 8 GB of RAM is always recommended. You can get away with 4 MB, but the machine may get really sluggish when being used for streaming or graphics.
By buying second hand you won’t be too much out of pocket and still get what is needed for those school assignments! I hope these tips helped you as they have help me 😀
Happy Back to School Everyone!