Top 10 Back to School Savings Tips

Getting ready for school is almost like preparing for Christmas. In involves new clothes, new accessories and maybe even new electronics. Parents would agree. Back-to-school shopping may seem like Christmas shopping when it hits your wallet, especially if a child is getting ready for college. Back-to-school shopping doesn’t need to be a financial burden.

Here are a few money-saving tips for back-to-school shopping:

  1. Bring kids with you, especially for clothes. You’ll read plenty of advice telling you the exact opposite. However, if you’ve set limits and expectations prior to shopping, a simple reminder during the trip (if necessary) should be adequate to limit unnecessary pleading for more.
  2. Buy quality on some items. Backpacks, for example, need to be durable enough to last the school year and be able to carry all necessary books and supplies.
  3. Network with family and friends. Anyone you connect with on social media will gladly share advice regarding their own school shopping experiences like price and availability.
  4. Say no. If you decide to bring children of any age along, set limits and expectations prior to shopping. Bring a detailed list and task one of them to maintain and update it as you shop. Then say no if they want more than you’ve already agreed on.
  5. Shop early & often. According to The Krazy Coupon Lady, official back-to-school shopping season begins the 2nd week of July. Look for deals beginning before that. Remember the best time to buy something on sale is when you see it. Nevertheless, it may take more than one trip because things start to sell out closer to school starting.
  6. Shop everywhere. You may need to stop at several different stores to acquire everything on your list. If you start early to midsummer, you’ll have plenty of time to hit all of the stores with sales.
  7. Shop sales and specials. If you began school shopping early, you’ll start to memorize prices and upcoming deals. It’s a good idea to download a few store apps to receive alerts when something on the list goes on sale.
  8. Shop & swap. If you’ve purchased more than you need, use your social network to trade for items you can’t find and to distribute the items you won’t need.
  9. Stock up for mid-year supply crisis. Certain items like notebooks and markers will need to be replenished by Christmas. Keep a stock at home to have them available.
  10. Shop tax free. Between August 3 and August 5, 2018 consumers in Missouri can shop for certain items without paying sales tax. The tax holiday is vital if you’re sending a child to college.

The sales tax exemption is limited to:

  • Clothing – any article having a taxable value of $100 or less
  • Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $1,500
  • Computer software – taxable value of $350 or less
  • Graphing Calculators - not to exceed $150
  • Personal computers – not to exceed $1,500
  • School supplies – not to exceed $50 per purchase

After all is said and done, save some room in your college-bound child’s car for fun stuff and extras that you already own:

  • Board games
  • Bulletin board and wall art
  • Deck of cards
  • Rug
  • Umbrella

According to Parenting Magazine, the average spent per pupil on back-to-school shopping is $179. With Missouri Central, you can put away all year and earn a great rate until next year when the process starts all over again.