Back to School

Back to School

As planners by profession, it only makes sense that we put a lot of thought into planning in other areas of our lives. This time of year, the big opportunity is back-to-school shopping. Here we will lay out a unique strategy for tackling these pesky costs.

Step 1. Supply Sweep/Supply Swap

Take a few minutes to root through desk drawers, basement storage, & all the various closets within your house. Then place all the office supply items in a central location so that you can easily check items off the list.

It might also be worth coordinating with friends, family & neighbors to see whose kid has outgrown what, or if someone accidentally overstocked during that last big sale.

Step 2: Cut Down Costs

Hunington Bank Backpack Index found it costs an average of $1,000 to send a child back to school (and based on my recent Facebook Feed, I have no doubt this is correct).

  • $662 – Elementary School – 1% increase
  • $1,001 – Middle School – 4.6%
  • $1,489 – High School – 1%

Extracurriculars now cost on average $2,292 per child. Washington Post found participation in school sports has declined almost 8% over last decade.

Here are a Few Ideas on how to Reduce These Costs:

Price Checking

  • CamelCamelCamel – Set up notifications and track price range history for every product sold on Amazon
  • RedLaser App – Scan larger items in store to see other locations with better pricing

Second Hand Textbooks

Extracurricular Savings

Store Social Media Tracking

  • Twitter
    • @Amazondeals
    • @Coupons
    • @Staples
    • @Officemax
    • @Marshalls
    • @BestBuy
    • @Target
    • @Kohls
    • @RetailMeNot

Use Free Money


Buy used when you can. Typically, most deals will be around May/June when students move on to the next class or graduate.

Step 3: Skip the Tax

Take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday if your State offers it!

Go to this Link to find your state (sorry Illinois, you all didn’t make the cut this year).

  • Specifically, for our Missouri clients, August 3rd – August 5th
    • Clothing (up to $100)
    • School Supplies (up to $50)
    • Computers (up to $1,500)
  • When you crunch the numbers, that could total up to $70 in savings!

Step 4: Preparation & Patience

Prime Day, Black Friday & Cyber Monday for bigger items – Set a Reminder on your phone calendar!

Buy just a few outfits to get the semester started but hold off on what you can until September & October to enjoy the biggest price drops! These are determined on a store-by-store basis, but the first markdown is typically 20%-30% and the second round will usually be around 40%!

Hold off on customized items like lunch boxes & backpacks if you can! Kids influence other kids & what was cool today may completely change after the first few weeks of school.

Step 5: Turn it into a Learning Experience

Back to School shopping is also a fantastic time to teach your children the importance of scarcity & choice. Some parents turn it into a game with rewards for finding good deals. Others will have their kids work to earn specialty items over generic ones. We realize it can be difficult to say no to your kids, especially with the social pressures that come with going to school, but if you can be vigilant, even about a few of these suggestions, you’ll be better off than where you started.

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