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How to Shop Smarter for Back-to-School Essentials

Believe it or not, it's almost back-to-school season! Whether your student is getting ready for another year of school or heading off to college, you likely have a long list of supplies to buy before summer comes to an end.

Thankfully, back-to-school doesn't have to drain your budget, even during this inflationary time. Check out these tips to help you shop smarter and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket this back-to-school season:

#1: Plan ahead and shop early

Without a clear budget and plan in place, it's easy to go overboard on supplies your student may not actually use or need. Start by looking at your student's school supply list if one is provided by their teacher or school. Do you already have some of those items at home? What can you recycle and repurpose this year?

Once you know exactly what you need to buy, be sure to include back-to-school shopping in your monthly budget and set aside money in a savings account for extra spending. By getting a head start, you can beat the rush and ensure your students are ready for school on time.

#2: Consider buying gently-used items

If you have a college-bound student, back-to-school shopping can involve some big-ticket purchases. When it comes to the items that your student will only use for a semester or two, like textbooks, it may make sense to buy them gently used instead of brand new. For supplies your student will use throughout their college career, like a laptop or tablet, it's usually best to choose newer, high-quality items that are built to last, so you don't have to worry about replacing them. ​

#3: Don't forget about other back-to-school expenses

Keep in mind that back-to-school expenses typically involve more than basic school supplies. Your student may need a doctor's check-up before starting the school year. There may also be additional costs associated with athletics, clubs, field trips and other extracurricular activities. School fees are another possible expense, including technology and dining fees for college students. Be sure to consider these commonly overlooked expenses when planning your spending. Remember, spreading out your purchases will put less strain on your budget!

​Start the School Year on the Right Foot

For more help with planning and saving for back-to-school expenses, stop by your nearest Wright-Patt Credit Union Member Center location. Our Financial Coaches are happy to help you create a budget and savings plan that fits your needs and goals!​