How to save money when preparing for back-to-school shopping?
Also, a shout-out to the parents who are about to experience it for the first time. We’re here to help.
Before we get into the practicalities, there is something that we need to establish first, otherwise, we feel like we would be doing you a disservice.
Let’s talk about the relationship between price and quality.
1. Find a balance between price and quality
Buying the cheapest products may seem like the most sensible course of action when you want to save money. But there is something that you should remember – everyone’s dear friend, called long-term value.
More specifically, if it’s the type of product that you expect to serve your children longer than a few weeks, it may require a more generous investment. Typically, we see a school backpack, shoes, or a laptop as such.
That being said, there is a fine line between overpriced brands and quality items that cost more than the cheapest solutions. We’d recommend focusing on the features and product quality instead of the brand name when you go out there for back-to-school shopping.
Naturally, some products don’t require the same attitude. We’re talking about things that are easily disposable and don’t cost that much in the first place. Pens and notebooks are all important, but as long as you have spares, it’s not as big of a deal if they break or are lost.
2. Make a list and prioritise
It’s easy to become overwhelmed just by the thought of how many things need to be done and bought before the school year even starts. However, some things are more important, and likely more time-sensitive to acquire, than others.
List-making is a proven technique for organising all kinds of things, and saving money is one of them.
Our advice: sit down and write down everything you will need to pay for, from notebooks to fees for extracurricular activities. When the list is done, look through it again and number everything, from the most crucial things to the least important. It’s possible that when you proceed to prioritise, you may even notice something that isn’t important in the first place.
And just like that, you know what to buy first in the back-to-school shopping spree.
3. Use what you have
Why buy something that you already have? Especially when your goal is to save money.
Take the list that you made a second ago – it’s time for a treasure hunt! Make sure that you check your office supplies, kids’ closets, and whatever else you think is relevant for school. This should cross quite a few things off the list and help you spend less!
4. Set a spending limit and create a budget
Now that you have eliminated some of the things from your list, you know exactly what and how much you still need. This means that it’s time to set a spending limit and truly polish that school year budget.
Important things to keep in mind:
- Be as specific as you possibly can
- Find out the average cost for each product/service
- Compare it to your overall budget and calculate how much money you can aim to save
Now, this may also be a fantastic opportunity to involve your children and teach them about smart spending habits. Let’s talk more about it now!
5. Teach your kids how to spend responsibly
Children are quick learners, and it is crucial to guide them to healthy and smart habits that will help them out later on in life.
Teaching your children the value of money and how to spend responsibly in general, not just for back-to-school shopping, is one of the most practical skills a parent can teach. And it doesn’t even have to be boring!
You know your children best, but just to get you inspired, here are a few tips:
- Explain why saving money and budgeting is important
- Include visuals and toys, e.g. flashcards and drawings
- Don’t be afraid of using metaphors to explain budgeting and saving principles
- Let them try it out for themselves
6. Keep an eye on your favourite stores
It’s no secret that most, if not all companies, often have special offers and campaigns, especially for their loyal customers. By keeping up with these businesses, you can make the timing work for your benefit and save more money as a result.
That being said, different businesses tend to share their special offers and deals through various channels. Most commonly, however, you are bound to find them on at least one of the following mediums:
- Official social media accounts
- Email newsletters
7. Check out credit card offers and Paysera Cashback
Credit card offers are something that is often overlooked, but there’s no harm in keeping your options open.
This very much depends on different credit card companies, but most of them tend to offer discounts, offers, and rewards through their cardholder programs. As you probably already guessed, special deals for back-to-school shopping are not an exception.
All you need to do is select products from your favourite online retailer, select Paysera as your payment method, and see how much cashback you can get. It may not be a lot, but everything adds up – so why not use the chance when it’s so simple?
Don’t have a Paysera account yet?
8. Compare prices and price match stores
Price matching sites may just be the ultimate tool for any bargain hunter out there. Let’s use it, shall we?
The idea is simple: you can check the price of a specific product that is being distributed by different businesses and then either buy from the one with the lowest price or ask another distributor to lower the price, though if it can be done very much depends on company policy.
Let’s use an example.
Let’s say your child needs a computer for school. After doing a little bit of research on which specific type of computer would meet the school activity needs best, you settle on one or perhaps a few specific models.
Since your goal is to save money, you don’t just commit to the first seller you see. Instead, you go online and look for the lowest price. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be done by going to different sellers' websites. Just search for “price match” and plenty of centralised comparisons will be at your disposal.
From there, you have two options: simply grab the cheapest option or, if for some reason you prefer a different seller that has a higher price, you can show them the other seller with the lower price and ask them to match the price.
As mentioned before, this does not guarantee the desired outcome, as not all companies agree to price match, but it could still be worth a shot if this particular seller is important to you.
9. Trust your checklist and stick to it
We understand that there are a lot of funny and colourful distractions out there, but when you catch yourself about to buy something that is not on your back-to-school shopping list, remember to ask yourself:
- Does my child need this for school?
- How will it be beneficial?
And most importantly, remind yourself why this particular item was not on the list in the first place. Trust your calculated judgement that you used while making the list for the school year and you’ll thank yourself when you notice all the money that you managed to save.