Are you ready for the kids to be back in school or do you prefer the summer vacation way of life? Regardless, times are changing soon for families across the country as kids head back to school. That means some things need to get done so your family is prepared. To make going back to school 2019 easier, we’ve assembled 14 helpful tips to get the family ready and save you some money!
Ways to Save for Back to School 2019
Parents spend a lot of money to send their kids back to school each year. The National Retail Federation estimates families will spend over $80 billion for back to school 2019. Families with children K-12 plan to spend an average $696.70. That is a slight increase of $11.91 over last year’s average. Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78. This has increased $34.61 over last year’s average.
That’s a lot of money. Here are some tips and tools to save some of that money:
Easy Money Saving Tool for Online Purchases
Save yourself time and money with Honey, a free browser app that will apply the best coupon code at checkout. Simply download and install Honey and shop online like you normally would. Honey will look at the items in your cart, find all active coupons available, and automatically apply the deal at checkout.
Purchase Discounted Gift Cards
If you intend to do some of your back to school 2019 shopping in-store instead of online, buy discounted gift cards before you go shopping. Raise and Gift Card Granny offer discounted gift cards at your favorite retailers. These tend to be limited time offers and some of them go pretty quick. It might be wise to keep these sites in your browser favorites so you can check them occasionally. Purchase the gift cards that will be used during your back to school shopping trips, and make your in-store purchases with the discounted gift cards.
Save at Local Thrift Shops
My father told me to never buy a new car because the value of a new car decreases significantly the minute you drive it off the lot. Same concept can be applied to many goods we buy. New clothes and supplies are great for back to school, but thrift shops offer slightly used goods at much lower prices. Digging through used stuff is not for everybody, but for you savvy shoppers who want to save, it may be worth the effort. Thrift shops like Goodwill occasionally offer new products at a reduced price from well-known retailers who want to reduce their inventory levels. You can also sign up to receive special notifications from your local thrift shops. Take advantage of special discount days, some back to school deals may include 50-75 percent off the already reduced pricing, or 99 cent day.
Hold Off on Buying New Clothes
Growing kids need new clothes. However, if you can hold off on purchasing all of their clothes before school starts, retailers typically drop clothing prices after the August back to school rush. Consumer Reports says retailers slash fall clothing prices in September and October. Plus, one advantage for your kids is they get time to learn what clothes they really want/need for school after it starts.
Take Advantage of Discount Retailers
Some companies always offer affordable priced items. Two examples are dollar stores and FiveBelow. There are many different dollar stores across the country who sell products for $1 (for the most part). You can pick up many of your general back to school supplies including pencils, pens, paper, glue, crayons, office supplies, kitchenware and dishes (for those off to college) for a buck. Five Below offers products for $5 or less. They tend to carry more gadgets and personal items like phone cases and clothing accessories. If you’re needing any electronics or technology that can help your children with school, you might think about looking at products at discounted prices. For example, if you believe your child would benefit from a home printer, you could save money by looking at refurbished printers online instead of purchasing a brand new one, the same goes for many gadgets and supplies that may end up essential throughout the school year.
Back to School is a Sales Tax Holiday in 14 States
If you moved recently to a different state, you might not be aware there are fourteen U.S. states who treat back to school as a Sales Tax Holiday, according to the Sales Tax Institute, a sales tax holiday is a limited-time period where a state allows sales tax to be waived or reduced on specific categories of items. The State Tax Institute breaks down all fourteen states, the dates of the sales tax holiday, and a description of the items.
Host a Back-to-School Swap
It sounds crazy, but these have grown extremely popular in recent years and can be really effective at saving time and money. With the use of social media and community groups, coordinating one of these events doesn’t take much effort and the cost is minimal. Simply round up local parents with children of different ages. Ask everyone to bring the clothes their children have outgrown to trade with other parents. For the cost of some snacks and beverages, you can potentially score a new wardrobe for your kids.
Prepare the Family for Back to School 2019
When the school year starts, getting back into the swing of things and finding a routine can take time. Planning and forethought will help you get organized and ease the transition. Here are some tips to help everyone in the family prepare and stay organized throughout the school year.
Establish School Sleep Schedule
One of the most overlooked, but important to-dos when going back to school is an established sleep schedule. Set a lights out time (this includes all devices) and an out-of-bed time (not awake time, physically out of bed time). Begin the schedule at least one week before school starts. This will help keep everyone on time in the morning and establish a beneficial sleep routine for everyone.
Checklist by the Door
Hang a small erasable whiteboard or chalkboard near the door. Each night, write down everything you and the children need before leaving the house the next morning. Have your children check items off the list every morning before they leave (you too). This tip will save everyone stress and frustration when rushing out the door.
New Email Address for School Only
Create a new email address that you guard at all costs! Give this email address to only the school, teachers and after school organizers. Use a gmail account and create a calendar you can sync with this new email address. I have two kids and I receive 2-4 emails for school related things every school day. Sometimes it exceeds 8-10 emails a day. Separating these emails from other email accounts helps organize and prioritize important communication regarding your children. No longer will it get lost in work and personal emails.
Find a Location for the Paperwork
Frankly, paper clutter around the house sucks. Every parent knows school brings on a lot of paperwork that can quickly consume a home. Before everyone goes back to school, determine a location for all the homework, permission slips and other school-related paperwork. This will be the go-to location. It will minimize clutter around the house and the number of “lost” items.
Kids Annual Checkup
Sick kids can be tough. Getting their annual checkup before everyone heads back to school can help minimize those sick days. Make sure your children are current on their vaccinations and ask your doctor about anything they recommend to keep your kids healthy for the year ahead. Also, it might be a good idea to have a few babysitter phone numbers ready to go for those unavoidable sick days.
Turn Off the TV, Streaming and Video Games
Some kids literally go through withdrawal their first day back to school when they do not have access to their phone, laptop, TV or video games. Summertime is when kids typically spend a lot of time using their devices. Kids can be in shock when they return to spending the day learning and not playing. Begin the process of turning off the electronics. Dedicate daily time to reading, creating something or playing a board game.
Let’s Not Forget the Teachers
Teachers will soon be watching over your children and helping their minds absorb as much information as possible for roughly 180 days. Maybe check out Pinterest for some easy and affordable teacher gift ideas to say thank you for making your children a priority.
This can be an exciting and stressful time for you and the family. The summer season is in the rearview, but another year for learning, development and growth is beginning. There are things to get done, but it’s all good. Stay positive because your kids may need that positive energy soon. Hopefully these tips will help back to school 2019 go off without a hitch for you and your family.
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