Skip to main content

Smart Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies

It's hard to believe it's almost back-to-school season again! As a parent, shopping for the new school year might feel stressful. From trendy new backpacks to lunch boxes, clothing and more, there are a lot of school supplies to buy. The good news is, you don't have to spend a ton to start the school year on the right foot.

Shop smarter and stay on-budget with these back-to-school savings tips:

“Shop" around your home

Before you hit the stores, go “shopping" around your house for school supplies you can recycle. Maybe you already have plenty of pencils, crayons or markers. Items like backpacks, binders, lunchboxes and pencil cases can often be reused year over year. Do your older kids have any clothes or supplies to pass down to younger siblings? Make sure you take inventory of what you already have before spending money on new supplies!

Only buy what you need

Back-to-school shopping can be a great opportunity to teach your kids about deciding between needs and wants. Make a list and separate the supplies that are essential from the ones that are optional. Then, set a budget for the amount you want to spend. Most teachers provide a school supply list to help parents get started. Once you're at the store, stay focused on the necessities. It's okay to add one or two fun extras to your cart, as long as they fit within your total budget!

Take advantage of tax-free weekend

Tax-free holidays are held each year to help families save on back-to-school season.  Ohio's tax-free weekend for 2020 begins on Friday, August 7 and ends on Sunday, August 9. During the holiday, the state sales and use tax (5.75%) is waived on certain purchases. The waived taxes are on top of additional discounts, so you can use coupons and promo codes to save even more on qualified purchases. Tax-free weekend in Ohio also applies to online shopping. Learn more about Ohio's tax-free holiday to prepare before shopping.

Buy some supplies in bulk

Certain school supplies are worth buying in bulk, especially if you have multiple children in your household. Items like pencils, glue sticks, crayons, pens and notebooks are used frequently and often get misplaced. Buying in bulk from a warehouse club store can help you save money and avoid having to replace these items over the course of the school year.

Personalize basic supplies

Instead of spending extra on branded school supplies, buy budget-friendly basics and let your kids decorate them. One idea is to find stickers of your kids' favorite characters or print photos to make a collage on notebooks and folders. Get creative! You'll save money and send your kids back to school with supplies that show off their unique interests and personal style. 

Back-to-school shopping doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. With a little planning, you can stay on-budget and help your kids get ready for a great school year!

For more helpful savings tips, tools and resources, please visit Wright-Patt Credit Union's online Education Center.