3 Ways to Save Money on Supplies for the Upcoming School Year

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  • Many parents will inevitably spend more on school supplies this year due to inflation.
  • If you're already having a hard time with bills, it's important to do what you can to lower your expenses.

Here's how to shave down your costs.

Although summer is still in full swing, in some parts of the country, the start of the school year isn't so far away. And that means many parents may already be thinking about -- and stressing about -- the idea of purchasing school supplies.

It's common for parents to plunk down a large chunk of cash each year to buy mandatory classroom supplies, as well as supplies like computer and sports equipment. And this year, parents may be looking at a really large tab. We can thank inflation for that. 

The National Retail Federation reports that families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school-related items this year. That's roughly $15 more than last year. It's also a lot of money for some families to be forking over at a time when the cost of everything from groceries to gas to utilities is sky-high.

If you're worried about affording the items you need to kick off the school year, the good news is that there are a few steps you can take to lower your costs. Here are three tactics worth employing.

1. Start your shopping early

If you save your school supply shopping until the week before classes are set to begin, you may have no choice but to pay a premium for things like backpacks, notebooks, and the like. But if you start researching prices ahead of time, you might manage to snag a deal -- even if it means going to a store you don't normally shop at.

Another reason to shop early this year? Although supply chains aren't quite as battered this summer as they were the same time last year, some popular items may be in short supply. The sooner you do your shopping, the less likely you'll be to have to send your child back to school missing key items that can't be found in stores.

2. Solicit and accept hand-me-downs

Your kids might need new lacrosse gear or larger soccer cleats in conjunction with the start of the school year. But that doesn't automatically mean you have to go out and buy them.

Reach out to your network of local friends, or post on your town or school social media page asking if anyone is looking to part with some hand-me-downs. Chances are, you'll find people who would love nothing more than to clear out their closets and help a fellow parent avoid what could be a whopping expense.

3. Shop with the right credit cards

If your credit cards don't reward you with a generous amount of cash back at department stores, big box stores, and other places where you might buy school supplies, then it may be time to apply for a new card -- quickly. The more cash back you're able to snag, the more you can offset the cost of the goods you're purchasing.

School supplies are an inevitable expense parents face each year. Use these tips to eke out some savings -- especially if you're already having a hard time making ends meet due to rampant inflation.

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