Back-to-School Tips that Save Time and Money

Back- to- school season means it’s time to get back to the business of learning. This year you can ace your back-to-school shopping excursion with these time- and money-saving steps that can make getting the whole family ready for a new school year a breeze.

Start with a list. Walking into the store without a list is an open invitation for impulse buys and forgotten items that end up costing you more time and money with a return trip. Create a thorough list by categorizing all the items you’ll shop for, such as supplies, electronics and clothing.

Set a budget. Calculate how much you’ll need to cover all the items your students truly need, then tack on some room for wants.

Explore your inventory. Items like scissors, rulers and protractors may not need to be replaced every year if they’re still in working condition. Assess what items you have that can be reused and those that need to be replaced for the new school year.

Cut extra stops. Dashing all over town to find all the items on your supply list is not only time-consuming, it’s unnecessary. Stores that specialize in school supplies, like Office Depot and OfficeMax, will have a broad selection and ample stock of the essentials.

Try online shopping. When you know exactly what you need, shopping online is a great time-saving solution. If you need to hand-select a few items in person, you can always take advantage of a “buy online, pick-up in store” option.

Buy in bulk. The sale prices during the backto school season aren’t likely to repeat during the school year, so in the long run you’ll save money and avoid a last-minute shopping trip on a busy school night in the future.

Research specials and promotions. For many stores, the back-to-school shopping season is second only to the holidays. This means you can expect widespread sales, promotions and special deals, such as “deals as low as a penny.” Some states also offer tax-free holidays near the beginning of the school year, which are honored at multiple retailers and generally restricted to school-related purchases like clothing, supplies and some technology.

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