Back to School Already?!
Getting the kids ready to go back to school doesn’t have to be stressful or break the bank.
Although it isn’t even August, it’s time to start thinking about the kids going back to school.
Most schools in the area begin classes the week of Aug. 15, so it isn’t just coincidence that almost every store in O’Fallon is having some sort of “Back to School” sale. Whether your child is going to preschool or high school, this time of year is inevitably expensive.
Crayons, pencils, paper, notebooks and glue. Those are just some of the supplies most kids need. There are also new clothes and shoes to purchase.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average family with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend about $600 on back to school purchases, which includes school supplies, clothing, shoes and electronics.
It is possible to get your kids ready to go back to school without breaking the bank. With some planning and patience, you can have your kids prepared to head back to school while keeping your sanity. I’ve put together a few ideas to help you navigate this sometimes stressful type of shopping.
- Back to School Sales Tax Holiday – Beginning at midnight on Aug. 5 lasting through Sunday, Aug. 7, the state of Missouri many “back-to-school” purchases are exempt from sales tax. This includes most supplies, clothing and electronic purchases. There are limits and exclusions, so be sure to visit the Department of Revenue for all the current information. Please note: St. Peters has optioned not to participate in the sales tax holiday, so if you are shopping at Mid Rivers Mall you will pay sales tax.
- Shop Now, Save Later – Go ahead and buy everything you need now, but save your receipts. Target is wonderful at giving price adjustments if the item you purchase goes on sale the following week. You don’t need to bring the item back to the store, just the receipt.
- Reuse – in our family, I don’t allow my boys to get new back packs or lunch bags every year. Depending on the quality of the item, you can usually use the same backpack for a few years. I also have my children reuse their scissors, rulers and pencil boxes from year to year if possible.
- Over-buy – I know that seems contradictory, but items like paper, notebooks, markers, glue and crayons are much cheaper this time of year. Every year I have needed to replace many of my children’s supply items mid-year, so I buy extra now to save them for later.
Make sure you have a plan before you go shopping. For instance, if you have a budget to follow, make sure your children are aware before you enter the store. You don’t want a disappointed daughter because you’ve budgeted $.50 for a plain notebook, not $3 for a Justin Bieber notebook.
A friend of mine and fellow O’Fallon mom, Ellen, shared with me that she buys all the “necessary” items without her kids so she is able to shop stress-free and stick to her budget. She does keep them involved by taking them on a separate shopping trip to pick out their own backpacks and lunch boxes.
I’m going to keep an eye out for any great deals on school supplies this week. I’ll share them in the comments section, so be sure to check back on Sunday once I’ve had a chance to check out the sales ads. If you see a great deal, be sure to post it to! I love to hear from my readers. Until then, happy shopping!