Believe it or not parents, you have to start thinking about your back-to-school purchases! It seems like just yesterday we were working hard to schedule the summer activities for our little boogers, and now it’s almost time to meet the teacher again! Time is flying by, and so will your money if you wait till the last minute to shop. The lists are most likely already on your school’s website, so get on there and beat the rush! With these impending shopping trips upon us, I turned to the one person in my life who knows how to shop till she drops, and actually loves purchasing school supplies…my mom!

My Mom’s Top Back-To-School Shopping Tips

  1. Don’t pass by the dollar store! There are lots of little dollar stores around your area (Dollar Tree has 4,750 stores nationwide) and if you look hard enough, you might find just what you’re looking for in the way of back to school supplies for….you guessed it…one dollar! Pencil packs, binders and notebooks are great buys at the dollar store!
  1. Office supply stores have crazy bargains. Keep an eye on the weekly newspaper or even online coupons in your area for your local office supply store. You know the usual suspects…Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, etc. In addition to the paper ads and coupons, some of the stores allow you to use a membership to get a percentage off at the register. Even better, if you are a teacher or know a teacher, you can get an even deeper discount!
  1. If you live in Florida, tax-free weekend is August 5-7, 2016. Get out there and buy some great stuff for the start of your school year and save some change here and there! If you are outside of FL, look up when your tax-free holiday takes place, and take advantage of that glorious weekend! For the details on Florida’s rules, click HERE. Here are a few of the highlights you should be aware of:

During this sales tax holiday period, the following items are tax-free:

  • Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item
  • Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item

The tax-free holiday does not apply to personal computers or computer-related accessories.

  1. Don’t forget about your grocery store. Lots of local grocery stores have buy-one, get-one free deals going on as we get closer to the start of the school year. Look for the in-store newspapers that talk about the weekly deals. You might even find one of those glorious “$5 off your total order” coupons!

Your little person is going to be super excited as it gets closer to the start of school….I know mine always are. It can be easy to grab a bunch of things that your kids don’t need so be sure to go shopping with a plan. Bring your list with you to the store and talk to your kids about what you will be getting and why. “Wants” are very different than “needs” and teaching your kids the difference between the two will be great for them in the long run. After your personal shopping is done, see what you can do to help your school or someone else with their school supplies. There are over 4,000 children in my local community alone that are homeless and will have no access to school supplies. Organizations like A Gift For Teaching make sure that homeless children get the supplies they need to succeed in school. Find out what organizations in your city help bring school supplies to homeless students and instead of getting that “want” item for your kids, have them pick it up for someone else. Keep going that extra mile for your family, and have a great start to the school year!

Cory Warren
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