Earlier this week, I wrote a brief article on saving money on Back to School shopping for MainStreet.com. As I thought about what I do to save money on back to school shopping, I realized that we as a society really do make going back to school a bit more of a spend-fest than it needs to be. For some reason, we think that we need to get entire school wardrobes in the fall — in spite of evidence that our kids will probably outgrow what we get by the mid-year point. We also purchase all new school supplies and, in general, feel like everything needs to be bought now.
But does everything really need to be bought now, at the beginning of the school?
Why can’t we treat school like we do other things? Instead of buying all new supplies at once, take stock of what can be used again the following year. Replace things only as necessary, rather than just buying everything. We don’t need to buy any new school supplies this year, since we have so many pencils, erasers and notebooks left over from last year’s spend-fest.
Likewise, most kids only need two or three new outfits for school. Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, concentrate on the essentials. My son only needs two new pairs of jeans — all his shirts fit fine. We did buy three shirts for later in the year, since they were on clearance. As the school year progresses, we will buy items on sale, if the need for them is approaching. (Some of the best sales take place after the school year is underway.)
In the end, getting ready for a new school year doesn’t have to be a huge spend-fest. Buying in stages, as things are needed (or planning ahead a little bit at sale time) can ease matters for your pocketbook, saving money and preventing waste.
Image source: Miranda Marquit