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Tips for Saving on Back-To-School Shopping

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Preparing for the back-to-school season is a great time for teaching financial education to children. You can teach your kids savvy shopping tips and valuable financial skills, and involving them in this process is critical to setting them up as fiscally responsible adults. In fact, nearly 73% of American teenagers lack confidence in their financial ability, so discussing this with teens is critical.

This comprehensive guide explores effective savings strategies for back-to-school shopping, including leveraging tax-free holidays. You'll discover how to turn back-to-school into an opportunity to learn about budgeting and other financial topics. Set up your kids with a positive foundation for their financial future by reading on.

Creating a Back-To-School Budget: Involve Kids in the Planning

Back-to-school spending is expensive. On average, families spend $890 on school spending. A budget is an excellent tool for keeping your family from overspending. Your kids should be involved in this budgeting process to learn to use this tool early.

The expenses are also directly related to the supplies they need to be successful for the school year. Start by discussing the items that they will need for school. Your child's school may also provide a list of necessary school supplies. These may include:
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Notebooks, pens, and other school supplies
  • Backpack
Make a list of these items and determine what they cost together to create this budget. This list will help your child learn the difference between needs and wants.

Then it's time to prioritize their spending and look for ways to save money. This may include shopping for items during sales or using things from the previous year.

Here are some tips to help you and your kids stay on track with the school budget:
  1. Create challenges to save money
  2. Plan for a year in advance
  3. Consider a sinking fund for supplies
  4. Set a spending limit
  5. Research reduced-price back-to-school supplies
These budget tips will make budgeting educational for your child.

Exploring Smart Back-To-School Shopping Strategies

Shopping strategically will give you more bang for your buck while teaching your child to look for savings. Show them how to look for deals and discounts on school supplies and clothing. They can use the internet to browse the cost of items at different retailers. Many new sites and blogs compile the best prices on school essentials to help identify the best places to buy certain things.

Other online resources include Google Shopping, Slickdeals, and, allowing you and your child to comb through the best back-to-school items available. There are also comparison websites such as PriceGrabber, Shopzilla, and Yahoo Shopping to help compare prices across retailers.

Another money-saving strategy is exploring bulk purchases. The up-front cost is more than paying for one item, but the cost-per-piece is less. It'll also lower the chances of buying an item because you'll have more of it on hand. Subscription services are a fun, low-cost way for your child to get essentials.

Tax-Free Holidays: Maximizing Savings Opportunities

A sales tax holiday is a certain timeframe that many states remove sales tax on specific items. These tax-free benefits are typically limited to one weekend, though some states have longer terms.

Eligible purchases are often determined by product and price. For example, if you wish to buy a new laptop, your state may remove sales tax for those $1,000 or less.

Florida offers tax-free items, including:
  • Clothing, footwear, and some accessories: $100 or less.
  • Some school supplies: $50 or less.
  • Personal computers and some related accessories: $1,500 or less.
  • Learning aids: $30 or less.
Taking advantage of the tax-free holiday will reduce the out-of-pocket cost of school supplies. Be sure to shop around for the best price on each item during these holidays. You'll get the best possible price by getting the lowest cost on each product without paying tax.

Make sure you're paying close attention to the limits on certain items. If you can eliminate the sales tax on athletic shoes, $100, for example, make sure the pair falls below that. Otherwise, you'll have to pay sales tax.

Plan for big-ticket items like laptops to maximize the opportunity to save. The tax-free holiday is the perfect time to make these types of purchases. To prepare your finances, save throughout the year before the tax holiday.

Introducing Kids to Price Comparison and Bargain Hunting

Showing your child how to make informed shopping choices is a life skill they can use their whole life. Take your child out shopping and encourage them to compare prices. Ask them about the pros and cons of buying one product and guide them to make the right decision.

Bargain hunting is a fun way to encourage your child to look for great deals, especially when a particular item is outside of the budget. The key is framing it as a fun challenge you can work on together. Share your excitement when finding something on sale. Turn it into a game of finding the best price and reward them for making smart shopping decisions.

You can teach your child how to maximize those shopping savings by encouraging them to save. Ask them to save the difference in prices for future goals.

Empowering Kids To Make Purchase Decisions

Children need support and guidance at an early age to make good decisions on money later in life. By involving your child in selecting their school supplies and clothes, you'll empower them with new responsibilities and pick up good shopping habits. Learning the difference between needs and wants will give them the tools to prioritize their spending and learn how to make trade-offs. Remember to guide them without stifling their ability to make decisions independently.

Emphasizing Value and Long-Term Use

Buying good quality and long-lasting products increases the likelihood your child will use these items for a long time. Teach your child about looking for things that are not only a good value but are made to last.

Shopping for eco-friendly products is another opportunity to teach children value and why sustainable choices are better. Buying greener products allows us to use organic processes that limit exposure to harmful toxins while reducing pollution.

Related to that is highlighting the benefits of reusing and repurposing items for their school needs. These topics will encourage them to value their things more while saving money.

Learning About Money Management Through Back-To-School Shopping

The back-to-school shopping season is a great time to introduce your child to essential money management skills to set them up for a successful financial future. It teaches them budget tracking and expense management, so they have built the habits to set mature financial goals like paying for college, buying a car, and saving for retirement.

Back-to-school shopping will give them the experience of handling a real-life financial lesson. It reinforces the importance of saving and discourages them from instant gratification and impulse buying.

Financial Education for Everyone

Make a lasting impact on your child's financial habits by incorporating the economic lessons of back-to-school shopping, which they can translate into everyday activities and nurturing their financial responsibility. It’s never too early to start your kids on the road to financial wellness by opening a youth account.  

At Power Financial Credit Union, we believe in empowering families to make well-informed financial decisions. Contact us today to find more resources for financial education for children, related topics, and solutions to fit your family's needs.