August 4, 2016
With summer wrapping up, it's almost time for school to start again. That means school supplies, new clothes, and the latest and greatest gadgets. For a lot of families, this can mean spending a big chunk of money too. But back to school doesn't mean you have to break the bank. Here are some tips on how to save money this school year and put those math skills to the test!
Get a cheat sheet to find the best prices on school supplies
School supplies can certainly add up quickly, and sometimes you don't have the time or energy to price match every store to find the best deals. Luckily, the folks at Passionate Penny Pincher created the Back-to-School Cheat Sheet that compares the prices of various supplies like binders, crayons, and glue at all the different stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Office Depot. You can use this to plan your attack for shopping and maximize your savings. It's also worth noting that this sheet includes the prices of name brand items, but if you're willing to go with store brand items, it can be even cheaper.
Keep an eye out for deals
Don't pay full price if you don't have to. Check your local newspaper for weekly ads to see what stores have discounted this week. You can also be a social media stalker, as many of the common stores like Office Max and Marshalls have social media account and will tweet out deals. Target even has their own app called Cartwheel where you can download coupons right to your smartphone (Android or Apple device required). You can even scan items in the store to see immediately if there are any deals for it.
Think outside the regular stores
Sure, it might seem logical to stick to the general retailers and office supply stores, but there's some great value to be had outside of the “usual suspects”. Thrift stores and garage sales can be great places for deals, especially if you don't mind used merchandise. Just try not to wait too close to school starting, as many other parents have the same idea, and you might find the stock less than impressive. You can also shop at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club for some bulk deals. This can be great for larger families or if you want to stock up for the next several years and save yourself the frustration of shopping next year.
Take advantage of tax free weekends
While shopping for deals can be great, sometimes those taxes can really be an unexpected addition. Luckily, both Georgia and Florida offer tax free weekends where you can score goods like computers and clothing completely free of taxes. There are some restrictions, for instance some items have to be under a certain price and only certain items qualify. Georgia will be having their tax weekend July 30-31, 2016 and you can find all the details on this list for what qualifies. Those of you in Florida will have your tax free holiday August 5-7, and you can find all the details for that at this link. Please note that Florida and Georgia have different requirements so make sure to consult the list for the state you plan to shop at. Also, be prepared for crowds as many other families will be doing the same thing.