It’s still summer, however, in about six weeks, most kids will be returning back to school. That means in about three weeks (if not sooner), we will start seeing creative ad after ad, encouraging us to buy this product or that outfit, from this retailer or that one. Everyone is going to start having sales if you’re lucky enough to live in a state where there is tax-free shopping for school supplies; well you just may be tempted to spend, spend, spend.
As we all know, just because items are tax-free or on sale, that doesn’t necessarily mean we are getting the best deals (it’s the retailer’s job to make money, remember that).
As with all shopping, you want to make sure you go in with a plan so that you don’t get suckered out of your hard earned cash.
Here are 5 Mistakes That Can Cost You Big This Back to School Shopping Season
Mistake 1: No Budget
By budget, I mean a detailed budget. How much will you spend on shoes? Clothing? Per child?
These are things that you need to have figured out ahead of time. Having a budget will keep you from going overboard with your spending. What I find helpful is using an envelope system for each category/child. Also if possible, if you shop on different days for each child, it may help ensure you don’t get overloaded and spend unnecessarily.
Mistake 2: Impulse Buys
We all have done it at some point. You or you child sees an awesome new JanSport backpack, and you figure eh it won’t hurt. Well if they don’t already have a backpack and you budgeted for one, that’s fine, but if they do have one and you are buying it for the sake of buying it, well then that’s a problem.
Stores are 100% full of temptation. Their primary job is to get you to spend as much as possible. Let’s face it; retailers don’t care if you are on and budget or if you live paycheck to paycheck. This is why it’s important for you to create a list and stick to it. Only purchasing the items that are needed, instead of what is wanted.
If you have enough wiggle room to plan for non-essential items, then only purchase the items that could come in handy later on down the line. Also remember, after the back to school rush, some items may go down in price. So may want to hang on to the money to shop then as well.
Mistake 3: Not Creating A List
How can you expect to combat impulse buys, if don’t know what you need to buy? Creating a list before you go shopping will help you determine what is a necessity and what is not. Also, it can help you search for the best deals before you head out to the stores.
Before making your list, check to see if your children have any supplies left over from last year. Do they have enough to make it the first few months of school? If so, you may just want to re-up a bit, to carry you over. How well do their clothes fit? Of course you may want to purchase new clothing and shoes, but definitely, take inventory of what you have. You may be able to sell to clothing that is too small, and add that to have some extra cash to go shopping with.
Mistake 4: Not Asking For A Discount
Closed mouths don’t get fed right? By making your list ahead of time and comparative shopping, you may find deals elsewhere and can use those to see if a store you would prefer would price match. You may not always get a yes, but remember to still ask, and to also be kind when asking.
Mistake 5: Waiting Until The Last Minute
In my opinion tax-free sale weekends (while not usually last minute), are the priciest time to start. Either way, it’s best to try and have your school shopping done at least two weeks before school starts. It’s definitely okay to have to purchase one or two things leading up to the start of school, or even after, but you don’t want to have to do a bulk of your shopping during this time.
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