Local stores will be packed this weekend as back-to-school shoppers flood the grounds looking to stock up on school supplies and new clothes. With money tight and credit card debt soaring to new heights, many families are struggling to stretch each dollar to the limit. A new school year doesn’t have to mean new debt. There are a few ways to find the best deals and save money for this upcoming school year.
Know The Rules
Tax-free weekend guidelines vary by state, and even city, so it is important to know exactly which items qualify for the tax exemption before you get to the checkout counter. In many cases, items over $100 do not qualify for tax exemption. Not all school supplies are exempt from the tax-free weekend and some of the more expensive items, such as graphing calculators may have a purchase limit. Families that have more than one kid requiring a graphing calculator may find that only one qualifies to be tax free. Check your local government websites or local new stations, they often provide a list of items qualify for the tax exemption.
Find The Best Location
Many stores will be offering the tax free items that your child may need, but not all stores offer them at competitive prices. Shop around before purchasing the items from a store. Look at your local flyers in the mail or newspaper for the best deals before you buy. In many cases, bulk discount stores may offer more competitive prices than the average office supply store. Check with your friends to see about splitting the cost of the items and buy school supply items in bulk.
Reuse and Recycle
Every kid would love to have that brand new backpack for the new school year, but they can often be pricey. Try to reuse what supplies and clothes you can from last year and buy smaller accessories to dress up the older items. Buttons, stickers, patches and bumper stickers can make an old backpack look fun and new. If last year’s clothes still fit, buy some cheaper shirts and jackets to change up the look of old outfits.
Try starting this school year off on the right financial foot. For items that you have to buy new, set a budget for the purchases. Buy only what is absolutely needed for the first few weeks of school, and purchase the rest when you can afford it. The fastest way into debt, is failing to plan and budget for once a year expenses such as back-to-school items.