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Lessons in Saving on Back-to-School Shopping

New clothes, new supplies, and of course school lunches…. How do you keep the kids happy and keep money in your pocket? We have a few tips to help you during this back-to-school season.

Clothing can really put a dent in your pocketbook. One mother I know will buy her kids one special outfit to start the school year and then wait to see what store has the best sales. If you’re internet savvy, you can try bidding on eBay® or looking on Craigslist®. You can find some great deals on new or gently-used clothes. If you have a lot of friends or neighbors with children, you can arrange a clothing swap. Everyone brings their gently-used clothing and swaps for “new” clothing! Sometimes you can find great little gems in thrift shops if you’re willing to take the time to dig around a little bit.

Supplies are one cost where you could save a lot. Begin by first taking inventory of last year’s leftovers or what is in your home office. Next, set a budget for what you want to spend. Start at your local dollar or warehouse store. When you buy in bulk at warehouse stores, you save money. Find a few families to go together on bulk orders, then split the school supplies — and the cost! If your child needs a binder, buy a plain one and print out pictures to slide in the sleeve. This way you can change it into a “new” binder anytime you want. Teachers suggest sticking with plain pencils, sharpeners, and erasers. They tend to work better and stand less chance of disrupting the class with flashy things.

School lunches can also be an expensive cost. If you have an old lunchbox from last year, consider decorating it with stickers, markers, or paints to make it “new” again! Or you could invest in some reusable containers or a waste-free lunch kit from Kids Konserve™ that includes a sack, two stainless steel food containers, beverage bottle, food cozy, and cloth napkin. Making up sandwiches and sides for the week ahead of time allows your child to easily pack lunch. Instead of taking up room with an ice pack, freeze your child’s drink.

With a little creativity and a little extra time, you can save money and still have happy kids! What tips do you have to help parents economize while back-to-school shopping?

(eBay is a registered trademark of eBay Inc.; Craigslist is a registered trademark of Craigslist Inc.; Kids Konserve is a registered trademark of Kids Konserve LLC)

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