First Person: How We Avoid Back-to-School Shopping Expenses

Yahoo Contributor Network

Is it really time to start thinking about back-to-school expenses? Apparently so, since businesses are already beginning their advertising campaigns. There is something fun about getting new stuff for the kids, but in a tough economy school supplies can be an unwelcome expense after a long summer of paying higher gas prices and utility bills. Still, I am not overly concerned. Here is how we avoid certain back-to-school shopping expenses.

Planning ahead

Are the retailers a little overzealous in their anticipation of shopping events? Yes. However, this also reminds consumers that they have time to shop. Saving money is about planning ahead instead of waiting until the last minute. As a consumer, I am always skeptical of "sales" that occur close to the beginning of school. When a business says that an item is discounted, can I trust that? Did I check the price last week or last month? By planning ahead, we can shop for certain items or watch their prices over a period of time.

Bit by bit

We are talking about thousands or even hundreds of dollars here. However, in a tough economy every little bit helps. We are willing to pick up items at different times and at different locations. The backpacks, lunch pails and writing supplies do not have to all come from the same store. Parents do not have to do all the school shopping in one trip. This is certainly convenient, but retailers are banking on shoppers that don't want to hassle with going to different stores.


We're not going to send the kids to school with a two-inch pencil and tell them to be grateful, but we are willing to reuse materials. When our kids come home at the end of the school year, we do not simply throw away everything in the backpack. Instead, we salvage certain items, put them in a school supply box and save them for later. We can learn from thrifty people of the past and use supplies that were bought a year ago and never made it out of box. Just because it is a new year does not mean that everything has to be purchased again.

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