Back At It: 5 Ways to Save Money During Back to School Season This Year
It’s your favorite time of year: back to school season.
Okay, you probably don’t relish the prospect of another school year. Not because you’re not happy to have the kids out of your hair during the workweek. No, dread the looming start of studies because you know the bill will soon come due — literally.
There’s no way around it: Getting your kids ready for the school year is an expensive proposition, especially when they’re involved in competitive extracurriculars that include lots of travel, equipment, and time.
But you’re not totally powerless to cut costs during the back to school crush. Try these five straightforward tactics to minimize the fiscal strain of another school year.
- Put the Kids to Work (Age-Appropriately, Of Course)
Even if your kids haven’t quite attained legal working age yet, you can have them earn their keep around the house. When they’re young, their labor probably won’t reduce your out of pocket expenses, but their cleaning or decluttering or yard-working will almost certainly free up some precious time for you — which is the next best thing.
- Become a Fundraising Distributor
Daunted by the cost of travel sports or competitive academic clubs? Become a fundraising distributor and take control of your kids’ extracurricular destinies by selling high-profit fundraising products that help raise cash for worthy causes, including your kids’ cherished hobbies. Use proven school fundraising ideas to boost buy-in from fellow parents and response rates from the general public.
- Learn Retailers’ Discounting Cycles
Soften the blow of that inevitable pre-class clothing run by learning major retailers’ discounting cycles. Most clothing retailers run clearance sales on a schedule that you could set a clock to; this extreme coupon enthusiast has some clutch tips for big names like JCPenney and Target.
- Take Advantage of Free Shipping
Don’t buy school supplies or clothes without the promise of free shipping first. Since most retailers set minimum free shipping thresholds, the trick is to buy in quantities great enough to qualify — without buying more than you’ll actually need. Some advance planning may be required, but nothing you can’t handle.
- Set Up a Carpool
If your kids don’t ride the bus to school, get together with a klatch of nearby parents and set up a carpool. Better to drive five kids to school twice a week than one kid to school five times per week — both for your wallet and the environment, it’s worth noting.
Everyone’s Favorite Time of Year to Save
You can’t completely avoid spending during back to school season. Your kids need clothing, supplies, sporting equipment, you name it — and that’s before you consider team and club fees, travel expenses, and various and sundry other expenses for your kids’ extracurricular activities.
You can avoid spending more than you should this fall, though. The tactics outlined here are just the beginning. Hook up with a few of your fellow parents to brainstorm more ways to save and you’re virtually guaranteed to walk away with a frugal back to school plan. Here’s to a fiscally fit 2019-20 school year!