Money-Saving Ideas for School Supply Shopping

A lot of time we talk about back to school shopping in the context of clothes, but haven’t you walked into the office supply store with that list of supplies from the teacher and walked out feeling a whole lot poorer?  Whether we like it or not, school supplies can get expensive. From clothes to pencils, it can cost a bundle to send your kids back to school. There are some things you can do, though, to make it less financially painful. Here are some money-saving ideas for school supply shopping.

What’s Shared and What’s Not

Back when you were in school, your school supplies were yours, and usually consisted of pencils, pens, notebooks and binders, and paper. The school provided things like dry erase markers, paper towels, and chalk. Schools are cutting their budgets these days, though, so you may find yourself buying supplies that will be shared. Check your local school system’s website or give them a call and find out what supplies will be pooled and which ones will belong to your student.

Save on the Shared Items

If you know an item is going to be shared with the whole class, such as binders or dry erase markers, skip the fancy ones. Go with the more generic, cheap types.

Speaking of Sharing…

Consider buying items in bulk with a group. Find other parents and families who can go in with you to purchase supplies. They tend to be much cheaper in bulk, and buying large amounts and dividing them up can help save some money.

Coupons

Look for coupons on manufacturer’s and retailer’s websites, and check your local newspaper. Combine the coupons with existing sales, and be willing to move on to the next retailer for the next sale rather than buying all your items at one place.

No Sales Tax

Many areas have a “no sales tax” day when you can buy items without this added tax. This is a good time to buy anything big, such as a small fridge for your college student, or electronics. The bigger the item, the more you save on sales tax. (This is another good time to buy in bulk with friends and family.)

Don’t Forget the Dollar Store

Do you have a store where “everything’s a dollar”? If so, go there! You might be able to find a lot of school supplies for a fraction of what you’d pay at a major retailer.

Start Early

There are a couple of advantages to starting your back-to-school shopping early. For one thing, you are more likely to get the supplies you want and need while stock is still plentiful. Another advantage to starting early is the sale prices. May stores have school supplies discounted early, while it’s still in the middle of summer.

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Creating & Sticking To Family Budgets

Sticking to Family Budgets

Creating a family budget sounds about as much fun as cleaning the bathroom. Money is tight for many families these days, resulting in many people looking for ways to save it.  Family budgets are a tried and true way to help prevent unnecessary spending and maybe leave a little extra cash to put into a savings account at the end of the month.  Family budgets only require a little bit of time to prepare and can help families hold onto their cash.

Building Family Budgets

Constructing family budgets will require a little time, but it is relatively simple. It will be helpful to have recent pay stubs, bank statements, and receipts handy to figure out spending.  First, one should outline how much money comes into the household each month, then figure out how much is being spent.  The family will need to figure out how much they spend in different areas, such as groceries, household bills, eating out, and more.

Family Budgets – Making Choices Together

The next step is to figure out where spending can be cut back.  For example, if one is eating out several times a week, they may want to consider cutting back to once a week, then putting the excess cash towards paying off their mortgage or into a vacation fund.

If planning family budgets seems to overwhelming or time consuming, one can consider making an appointment with a financial planner or similar professional that can help them create their plan.  There are many books available with tips.  The Internet has a number of resources for family budgets planning, including articles and interactive tools that can be useful.

Once family budgets are created, it is important that all family members with spending power are satisfied and aware of the changes.  It is important to follow up each month to make sure that the family is sticking to the budget.  If the budget is consistently broken, more or different changes may need to be made, either in the spending plan itself or the family’s spending habits while they shop.  Family budgets really are the key to financial peace of mind.

Creating and Sticking to Family Budgets

Why does it seem so hard to create family budgets?  Money is tight for many families these days, resulting in many people looking for ways to save it.  Building family budgets is a tried and true way to help prevent unnecessary spending and maybe leave a little extra cash to put into a savings account at the end of the month.  Family budgets only require a little bit of time to prepare and can help families hold onto their cash.

Building Family Budgets- Not as Hard as You Think

Constructing family budgets require a little time, but is relatively simple. It will be helpful to have recent pay stubs, bank statements, and receipts handy to figure out spending.  First, one should outline how much money comes into the household each month, then figure out how much is being spent.  The family will need to figure out how much they spend in different areas, such as groceries, household bills, eating out, and more.

Family Budgets – Where Can You Save

The next step in crafting family budgets is to figure out where spending can be cut back.  For example, if one is eating out several times a week, they may want to consider cutting back to once a week, then putting the excess cash towards paying off their mortgage or into a vacation fund.  Eating out is  a true family budgets killer.  If you could focus on just one money saving tip – this would be it – and this includes the stops through the drive thrus and those work day lunches.

Should You Seek Help In Creating Family Budgets?

family budgetsIf planning family budgets seems to overwhelming or time consuming, one can consider making an appointment with a financial planner or similar professional that can help them create their plan.  There are many books available with tips.  The Internet has a number of resources for family budgets planning, including articles and interactive tools that can be useful.

Once a family budgets is created, it is important that all family members with spending power are satisfied and aware of the changes.  It is important to follow up each month to make sure that the family is sticking to the budget.  If the budget is consistently broken, more or different changes may need to be made, either in the spending plan itself or the family’s spending habits while they shop.  Family budgets may seem like a lot of work, but they can save a lot of heartache.