10 Ways to Save on Everything for Back to School #BTS


Back to school

I have a love/hate relationship with the Back to School time of year. On one hand, we’re getting back into a good routine where the kids have somewhere to be everyday. On the other hand, it is expensive! From supplies to clothes, here are my best tips for saving money during back to school.

UPDATE: See my segment on Fox Rochester all about saving money here.

1. Use Ebates for online purchases. – Get cashback in the form of a check for your purchases to JCPenney, Kmart, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Gap, and more.

2. Know where to splurge. Last year I “splurged” on high quality backpacks from Land’s End. The one I purchased for my son cost $39, which is steep considering you can get backpacks for $2.99 at drugstores. However, this is a case where quality trumps quantity. We purchased a neutral color and a large enough size that I hope will last my son for several years. If he uses his Land’s End backpack for 4 years, the cost will only be $10 per year, which is very palatable. Also, it creates less waste to buy 1 quality item than multiple poorly-made items that fall apart after just months of use.

3. Take Inventory. Before shopping, dig through last year’s pile. If you’re anything like me, it is still sitting in a pile on the floor of the dining room. No? Just me? Anyway, look through the pile, as well as your gift closet, if you have one. You may find some glue sticks, packs of crayons, notebooks, or other items you can reuse instead of buying new.


4. Don’t waste money on disposable items.  Last year my son used Stainless Steel ECOlunchbox Three-in-One  every day of the year – and it is no worse for the wear. I foresee many years of use ahead. Packing a waste-free lunch with no plastic or paper bags is not only economical, but it is SO much better for the environment.  I love Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Reusable Snack Bags. Plus, you’re not spending money on pieces of plastic that are only going to go in the trash (one of my personal pet peeves!).

5. Shop Consignment. Contrary to what you might think, this doesn’t have to involve hours of sorting through a jumble of poorly organized merchandise. I have been to children’s consignment stores (like Once Upon a Child, a national franchise), that are much more organized than most department stores. Want to score consignment deals online? ThredUp is a great option for kids’ online consignment. You can get a $10 credit when you sign up here.

6. Take advantage of Sales Tax Holidays. See what states offer them here. NY doesn’t.

7. Stock up for next year on freebies or $0.01 items! Every week, most office supply stores and drugstores will have various items for a penny or a dollar. Stock up on those items when they are offered.

8. Try Amazon! Joining Amazon Student is free and offers FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students (or anyone with an .edu email address). I use Subscribe and Save to save money on snacks and lunchbox items. Check out the Back to School Deals at Amazon.

9. Don’t forget the list! I know it seems like a no-brainer, but we often shop for things we think we may need, but teacher’s lists change from year to year! Make sure to check the list before you go out to the stores. This may save you from spending on items you don’t need.

10. The Dollar Section is your friend. Whether at the Dollar Store or the dollar section at Target, there are some great stock up deals available.

Bonus Tip: Make some money! Trade in the kids’ too-small clothes at a local consignment shop for Craigslist to earn some money to use on new items. Here are some tips on prepping your items for sale.

You may also like to try making a DIY Frugal Kids Homework Station and these Super-Cute First Day of School Printables

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