Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sending your Child Back to School Without Breaking the Bank

According to a recent survey, nearly 60 percent of parents plan to change the way they shop for back to school items for their children because of the poor economy. The same survey also found that over a quarter of the parents in this country said their children needed more expensive items, such as computers, because of education related budget cuts.

Although not all U.S. taxpayers have children, the back to school season is second only to December holiday shopping when it comes to the amount of money American consumers spend in a month. To help the readers of my blog looking to send their children back to school without breaking the bank, I have put together the following list of money saving tips.

Read Reviews Online

Before you embark on a back to school shopping trip you should always do some online research, especially if you are going to buy expensive items like a computer or laptop. Read reviews from other customers, and run a few searches to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Shop Online

These days it is easy to buy supplies online, and a lot of retailers even offer free shipping on some purchases. Even if you have to pay for shipping, the money you save will often outweigh the added shipping expenses.

Start Early & Watch for Sales

It is already August, and some children will begin going back to school in a week or two. There is no need to wait until your child’s first day of class to purchase all of the supplies they need. Start shopping now, and be on the lookout for good sales. If you do not know what supplies your child will need, then you could try contacting either their teachers or parents of other students in the same grade.

Buy in Bulk

With basic supplies – such as pencils, paper, glue sticks, etc. – you might want to consider buying in bulk. Although your son or daughter obviously does not need a few dozen pencils on the first day of class, you can stock up now and use the supplies throughout the year. During back to school season many education essentials are discounted significantly, and by stocking up now you can save a decent amount of money throughout the year.

Take Advantage of Sales Tax Free Weekends

If you live in a state that has a sales tax free weekend you should try to plan your back to school shopping around the days when the tax breaks are in affect. Many stores also offer additional discounts on school supplies during sales tax free weekends. There are dozens of states offering some type of tax free holidays including Florida, Texas, New York, Iowa, and many others. To see if your state is offering a tax free holiday, check out this article on

Donate a Backpack

While you are purchasing supplies for your child, it is important to remember that there are thousands of children in this country without the supplies they need to succeed. During back to school season there are always charity drives asking for backpack donations, and if you can afford the extra expense I highly recommend making a contribution. In addition to helping out a child in need, you can also keep the receipt and claim the donation as a charitable contribution on your next tax return.

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