MILWAUKEE — Summer is in full swing and while you may be thinking about pools and beaches — retailers are thinking about pencils and binders. Believe it or not, stores are already in back to school mode and supplies shopping season is underway.
A recent survey from the National Retail Federations reveals more parents plan to use coupons and hunt newspapers circulars to find good deals on school supplies this year.
But, you may not need to if you follow six simple tips:
- Empty your kid's backpack: There may be good supplies hiding in the pockets or at the bottom of your child's backpack. Check that out first to find items on the upcoming school year's list.
- Set online price alerts: While you may be heading out to the store for most of the school supplies, it can be helpful to setup online price alerts for more expensive items like laptops or tablets. There are several browser add-ons to do this with like PriceBlink or CamelCamelCamel.
- Shop solo: If it's possible, leave the kids at home when you head out to buy school supplies. This will not only help speed up your shopping trip, but you're less likely to make unnecessary or impulse purchases.
- Shop around: It may seem convenient to get all the school supplies in one place, but that doesn't always mean you're getting the best deal. If you want to save money, scope out different stores and look at their sales and discounts. It may be more time consuming, but it will keep some extra cash in your wallet.
- Buy in bulk: You may not need 100 pens or pencils right now, but you can use them later. When you buy in bulk the unit price is cheaper. So, it may seem like too many of one item now, but you won't have to shop for that item later in the school year or even next year.
- Go plain: Many retailers offer notebooks, binders, backpacks and more with cool designs or cartoons, but those come at a price. If you're looking to save, stick to the items that are the basic colors.
In the end, no matter where, when or how you decide to shop the key to saving money is planning.