Shopping for back-to-school used to take place over just a single week around Labor Day. Now, however, the first promotions for back-to-school shopping start appearing as soon as the July 4th festivities come to a close.
That means you have plenty of time between now and the start of school to stock up on school supplies and other essentials without breaking the bank. Here are some brief tips to guide you.
Create a shopping list and stick to it – Some schools and school districts have already started to post lists of items that your kids will need for the next school year. Some local stores may also have these lists available. So, while you have some downtime during late July and early August, make sure you start assembling your shopping list. That will help you choose between “nice-to-have” and “must have” items when you are shopping with your kids.
Be on the lookout for coupons, promotions and discounts – Believe it or not, the first back-to-school promotions start to appear in mid-July. Walk into any big-box store over the summer, and there are already bins of items for sale at markdown prices. And, if you have signed up for email newsletters from certain retailers, you are probably already getting coupons and promotions on a regular basis. Check the expiration date of these coupons and save them for later if you can use them during August.
Check to see what items you already have – Throughout the year, you have probably accumulated notebooks, crayons and various arts and crafts materials. Start to accumulate these in one place so that you know which items you can cross off your shopping list from the get-go.
Consider retail stores other than the “usual suspects” – There are some large big-box stores that will try to convince you that they are the one-stop destination for taking care of all your back-to-school needs. While they might offer the greatest assortment of products, they might not offer the best prices. So, do not be afraid to check out arts and crafts stores, dollar stores and even supermarkets as places to get the best prices.
Shop very early… or very late – The good thing about the back-to-school shopping starting in July is that some of the best deals are already starting to pop. It is all part of a strategy by retailers to “win” the back-to-school season. So, take them up on their discounted offers. And, of course, there is also something to be said for “waiting it out” until after school starts. If you already have a stockpile of items from previous years, you might be able to wait things out just long enough to pick up some fantastic deep-discount bargains in September.
Consumers now have the upper hand during the back-to-school shopping season. A longer, two-month shopping season means that there is plenty of time left to grab some amazing bargains. Create a list, stick to it, and be a little creative in which stores you decide to hit. By doing so, you will be able to shop for back-to-school without breaking the bank.