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Funding Your Future: How to save big on Back to School

Posted at 1:00 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 16:15:31-04

Financial expert Rachel Langlois shares advice for saving when it comes to school supplies and new clothes.

Back to School Savings

  • Parents spend an average of $670 for back to school shopping.
  • Of that, more than 50% ($361) is spent on clothes and shoes.
  • Important to develop a savings strategy so you don’t unconsciously or compulsively overspend

Start By Taking Inventory

  • School Supplies:
    • Check against lists provided by schools
    • Can items be reused or passed down
  • Wardrobe
    • Have children try on everything and create keep/donate/sell piles
    • Create list for each child to document how many of each article of clothing they have (how many jeans, khakis, dresses, t-shirts, etc)
    • In next column, list what they need of each item. Make your shopping list specific.


  • Can base off of what you did last year, but try and improve.
  • Use the envelope method for each child. If child is old enough, consider giving the freedom to shop for identified items using their budget.

Now that you know what you need:

  • Wardrobe
    • Consider organizing a clothing swap
    • Purchase from consignment or thrift shops, especially their “play clothes”
    • Get basic pieces that can be easily mixed and matched
    • Back to school haircuts, consider going to a beauty college
    • School Supplies
      • Don’t get carried away buying items “just in case,” buy what is a guaranteed need.
      • Use what you have.
      • Consider purchasing in bulk—especially for school lunches.

    Another big expense is after-school activities:

    • Explore whether your child could receive free or discounted enrollment if you volunteer
    • Try community rec classes or teams first to see if they like the activity before investing too heavily

    Utilize Cash-Back Resources:

    • com gives 5% cash back to help pay for school expenses

For more information, go here. 

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