Smart back to school shopping

·2 min read

One bit of advice on how to not break a budget for back-to-school shopping is to avoid doing it in August. However, since August is already here and the new school year starts in less than a month, there are some other tips that might help.

Shopping around is recommended, and doing it online rather than running from store to store can save you hassle and gas money, plus makes it easier to keep track of who is offering the best deals on certain items.

One website which helps avoid getting sucked into the commercial vortex of large stores is schoolstart.ca. The site allows parents or older students to pick their province, city and school and has the list of required items for that school and grade. The entire catalogue can be viewed, or they also have school supply kits. Each grade has a basic kit and then other items that are optional, depending on what the student still requires.

The Springfield Financial blog post has a link to YouTube videos on the following topics: buying second-hand items, shopping online to get cash back, buying refurbished tech and planning low-cost lunches.

Mymoneycoach.ca also has a post on getting the most out of your back-to-school budget, which is shorter but covers the essentials. Another one is moneymentors.ca. Essentially, the same types of advice are given on each website. Shop over the entire year, wait for sales, scour thrift shops, second-hand stores and garage sales, and stick to the list of required items.

Another common recommendation is to see what you already have at home. Clean out those junk drawers and closets to find out what has been packed away and forgotten about. A bonus of this task might be organizing a drawer or closet which has long been on the list but not yet accomplished.

Giving the student a back-to-school allowance or communicating with them about the household budget and how much is available also has multiple benefits. It's never too early to learn about money and the costs of everyday items and is a lesson with lifetime benefits.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News