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Shopping for your kids as you transition into the back-to-school season can be both an exciting and expensive time. While your kids are eager to see which teachers they have on their schedules, it’s easy as a parent to be less than eager when it comes to the inevitable amount you’ll have to spend on both books and supplies. Though you might feel overwhelmed as the school year approaches, there are many ways to save along the way that you’ll want to keep in mind. Consider these smart and simple tips below on how you can keep some extra cash in your wallet as your kids go back to school.

Buy in Bulk

A great way to get the supplies you need for a better price is to pair up with other moms and buy items in bulk. From large pen packs to binders and notebooks, you’d be surprised how many items you can get more of, for less in the long run. Put out a back-to-school shopping Facebook post or Tweet to see if there are any other moms in the area who are willing to split the bulk costs with you so you can share and save together.

DIY The Basics

If you do buy items in bulk you may find that most of your supplies are a bit lack-luster when it comes to the taste of your kids. Instead of purchasing name-brand pre-designed folders and notebooks, let your kids DIY their school supplies into something they’ll love even more. From printing out fun pictures to adding on some glitter or stickers, there are many easy ways to make even the most basic items look beautiful.

Go to the Dollar Store

Most of the time it’s easy to forget or overlook your local Dollar Store. Always be sure to peruse their options first, as you never know just how many simple yet necessary items they offer. Make a list of all the smaller things your child might need that are often forgotten such as erasers, staples, and paper clips. If you’re willing to make the extra trip, you can find all of these items for less at your local dollar store.

Shop Used

That thrift store you always drive past but forget to go into? Back-to-school is the perfect time to stop by. From used textbooks, to fun new school styles, shopping used at a local consignment store might be the best decision you make all year. Be on the look-out for even larger sales on August 17th, which is National Thrift Store Day! Or, if you prefer to do most of your shopping online to avoid the chaos of the store, utilize online thrifting sites like thredUP. By taking advantage of online thrift stores, you can find popular well-known brands like Old Navy to dress your kids for their classes in style at a better price.

Don’t Bring Your Kids

As exciting as it may be for your kids to come back-to-school shopping with you, your best bet in order to save money is to leave them at home. Taking the approach of “what you see is what you get” with your child’s school supplies might seem harsh, but it truly will teach them the importance of needs vs. wants in the long run. You’ll find that doing your school shopping alone will also save you on time as you won’t be weighed down by keeping track of your little ones in those busy shopping aisles.

Check Price Match Policies

Though taking note of all the different prices each back-to-school retailer has to offer might be time consuming, you’ll find it’s well worth the work. Before you take the plunge and start spending money, do your research on product pricing. Most stores nowadays offer price matching for competitors that will save you a pretty penny should you take the time to read the fine print. Always check at least 3 different locations for how much each item you have your eye on costs. This simple step will save you extra trips to the store and extra cash.

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