Title: 7 Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping

Jenny Haas, of Newton, center, shops with her children Nina Kaplan, 16, left, and Nathan Kaplan, 13, at Staples, looking down a list of items they need for school.

Title: 7 Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping

It’s almost back to school shopping time, an event dreaded by both Children and parents. Your little one hates it for the obvious reasons of homework, less free time, and awkward social encounters. You dread it for a more financial reason: it’s expensive.

We can’t perform miracles and make your child stop hating going back to school, but we can make shopping for it less painful for you. Here are some tips that help you save on back to school shopping supplies and clothing.

Take Inventory on Supplies

Write a list of all the supplies that your child needs this year. Next, look around your home and office to see if you already own any of those items. Cross off anything that you find around the house, because you no longer need to purchase it.

Additionally, remove all school clothing from your child’s closet. Examine which things he has outgrown or severely damaged. Write down the number of shirts and pants that you need to replace.

Shop Early and Often

Take advantage of the end of the summer sales. Around late July and early August, start visiting major department stores to find deals on school supplies and uniforms.

When shopping for clothing at secondhand shops, visit them frequently to find the best deals. Make it a weekly habit to check thrift shops for new items that match your child’s uniform requirements.  This same rule applies to garage sale shopping. Visit the ones in your neighborhood every time you pass them.

Set Trend Limits

It can get expensive purchasing a thousand items featuring the latest Disney character or pop star. Convince your child that he doesn’t need to have all of his items featuring the latest trends. Instead, buy him one or two products with that character, but keep the rest a basic design. Therefore, once his attachment to the trend fades, he’ll have versatile items that he can use next year.

Use Coupons

Use coupons whenever you make back to school purchases. For example, you search Groupon for the latest Finish Line coupons.On your back to school shopping trips, you find a buy one get one free coupon for a pair of sneakers.

Target, Staples, Best Buy, and Office Max are important stores to monitor for savings, because they have a lot of back to school options.

Buy in Bulk

Notebooks, pens, pencils, and folders are good items to buy in bulk because students need them often. The student will end up using up the bulk supply, or you’ll have purchased enough to last you until next year. Check Costco, Amazon, and Overstock for bulk back to school supplies.

Buy Quality, Not Quantity

Make sure that the back to school supplies are made with quality material that won’t tear or break easily. Purchase a backpack with a lifetime warranty. The manufacturers make them with durable material that allows them to last years without breaking. If the backpacks break, they are free to fix or replace.

Use Cash

Pay in cash to ensure that you stay within your budget. Cash payments allow you to see how much your spending and stop yourself from going overboard.