If you have bad credit it may be a given that thinking about buying anything can be quite worrisome. Since having bad credit can also mean having debt, then chances are you may be hesitant to spend a lot of money at any given time throughout the year.
One of these ‘dreaded’ times of year may revolve around the same time that students and teachers across Canada are preparing to return to the classroom. This of course is likely to include the need for some pricey back to school shopping. You may even be a student yourself and trying to manage your own student debt at the same time. Whether you are shopping for yourself or for supplies for your children, either way these purchases can easily add up and even mean that more debt might await you.
Even though back to school shopping is often a necessity in order to be able to participate in the various school activities and learning opportunities, nevertheless it doesn’t need to mean that you will have to go further into debt. The reality of it is that there are certainly some unique ways you can save on back to school purchases – and in turn can reduce the amount of money you are spending each year.
Here are 3 ways that may help you prepare for the school year, yet still avoid the wracking up more debt at the register.
1) Performing a School Supplies Home Inventory
This first point actually makes a lot of sense, and yet may be something we often overlook as a method of collecting various school supplies. With previous years of school shopping likely to have occurred in your home – as well as certain supplies that are likely already present in your home for other uses- you may just be surprised at how much of these supplies can be found laying around your house in various nooks and crannies. Perhaps you have just forgotten about them – as they may be hidden in drawers, filing cabinets, and even put away in basement storage bins. Some of these items may include, binders, paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, crayons, erasers, rulers, calculators & geometry sets , and so on.
Ultimately, by taking some extra time to search your home for school and office supplies, you may find most of what you need to help you or your children get off to a good start at school this year, as well as helping to save some extra money in the process.
2) Shop for Items & Clothing at Second Hand Stores
Shopping for supplies and clothing as well can also contribute greatly to the high cost of associated with going back to school. As children advance to higher grades and grow into larger sizes of clothing, they continue to require new items each year. Again, this can really since it is a necessary cost, yet can really add up, why no try to reduce these costs by shopping for these items at second hand retail locations?
Often times thrift stores will have binders, lined paper, and pencils and writing utensils still in their original packaging. Even if these items have been opened, they are often in really great condition. Think about it – a gently used binder for $2 versus a $10 to $15 dollar binder purchased brand new – what a difference in the amount of money you can save.
We also know that buying clothing can be expensive – pure and simple. However again, you can instead choose to purchase clothing from second hand stores and find gently used clothing – some of which may still be unworn and even have the original tags attached. Additionally, there may be some consignment stores in your area that specialize in clothing – where a gentle worn clothing standard is upheld for all consigned clothing. Since these stores will only accept clothing that is in good condition, you don’t typically have to worry about buying used clothing that actually looks used. Many of these stores also appreciate that children grow out of clothing quickly and therefore parents need both an outlet to re-sell as well as to purchase clothing for their children on a more frequent basis. For this reason, it very much makes sense to shop at these types of stores where you are likely to still see quality clothing in good condition, not to mention reasonably-priced as well.
3) Set Shopping Limits
For those other times however, when buying second hand or finding what you need in the back of your closet is just not an option, you may still need to venture out and shop for new items. With that being said, there may be various opportunities to save some money on back to school purchases in well-known stores near you.
Since these prices may still be higher than what you will find in second hand stores, it is wise to set some ground rules for when you do your shopping. If, for example, your children – or even you have your heart set on buying all brand name items, then this will mean your shopping bills will be higher as well. To offset these costs, you can look to purchase certain items that fall outside of the brand name category, yet will still be functional and stylish.
Setting limits with your children and for yourself as well can be a big help when it comes to avoiding overspending. An effective method of approaching the subject of what it means to be a responsible shopper with your children can start with identifying needs versus wants. While you or your children may want to buy all name brand items, you can discuss the importance to saving money by comparing prices on similar non-brand name items.
To compromise, you can also set a limit for them by implementing a one-brand name item rule. For example, you can offer to buy one brand name item, yet all of the other purchases can be those found in the bargain bin or of the lesser-name variety. As you can see, it is possible to find a balance between name brands and less expensive brands, with the goal of saving yourself some money at the same time.
All in all, you can use this school savings approach to teach children how to manage money by having them be involved in the process – that way they can learn just how much these items cost. If you are trying to save money while doing your own shopping, then setting limits for yourself and reminding yourself that certain items are often still useful even if they have been previously purchased by someone else, can help you to refocus your spending in order to budget effectively for back to school this year.