Tips to buy school supplies, without spending extra cash

According to a consumer survey by Deloitte, only 17 percent of respondents planned to cut back on back to school shopping.

This will be good news to retailers whose profits have been flat this quarter. The ongoing recession has led a number of states to offer back to school sales tax holidays to provide an economic respite and encourage spending.

But a sales tax holiday isn’t the only option for cash-strapped parents looking to take advantage of back to school deals – there are plenty of ways to save money on school supplies, clothing and dorm room essentials.

Everyone knows the three “Rs”: reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, but back to school shoppers should concentrate on these “Rs” as well:

Review: Most schools provide a list of suggested school supplies, but if not, you should definitely make up one of your own. Lists prevent impulse buys and spending on unnecessary items. Keep an eye out for sales on the items on your list in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year. Tracking bargains as they occur rather than buying supplies in one session is sure to save money in the long run.

Recycle: Chances are you’ve got plenty of pencils, pens, notebooks etc., on hand. Collect and sort suitable items and revise your list based on what you already have. While kids love to equate the new school year with new stuff, see what items are still useable. If that Spongebob lunchbox is no longer in vogue, consider having your grade-schooler cover it up with stickers to make it more appealing. Also, keep in mind longevity and reuse when making new purchases: A well-constructed, slightly generic backpack is going to get a lot more use out of it than its flimsier, trendy counterpart.

Reach out: Band together with other parents to see about swapping excess stockpile items or form a cooperative to purchase necessary supplies in bulk, thus saving money over individual purchases. College students can utilize this strategy by coordinating with roommates as well. After all, only one microwave and one TV are really necessary per room.

Rent: Check into textbook rentals. Services like Chegg and can save hundreds of dollars over buying books that will only be used for a semester. Also look for e-textbooks – which not only cost less than the bound-paper version, but save the environment and reduce backpack weight.

Reduce: When shopping for dorm and school supplies, make sure to look for discounts wherever possible. Websites such as offer a variety of deals like Kohls coupons, which can reduce the price on backpacks and kids clothing for your elementary or high school student plus comforters, microwaves and other dorm essentials for your college student.

Although summer is still in full swing, back to school is not far off – which means preparing for back to school shopping starts now. By employing some saving strategies, equipping your kid for the new school year doesn’t have to be a costly venture.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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