Starting the School Year Off Right: Five Tips for Being Smart about Back to School Spending
As the end of summer (too) quickly approaches, chances are the next large expenditures you’ll face will be related to the back to school season. Whether you (or members of your immediate family) are heading back to school, it seems that we’re bombarded with advertisements and offers telling us to go shopping at this time of year.
While it’s always a good idea to take advantage of sales when making purchases, we still have to realize that no matter how good a deal we get on something, the money is still coming out of our bank accounts. As a result, we need to closely monitor our spending, particularly in today’s economy.
Here are some tips to help you have easy sailing with the back to school sales:
- Plan shopping trips to coincide with sales! This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating that it’s a good idea to plan your shopping trips in advance, so that you visit each store during the time of their sales. It’s no fun making a large purchase, only to find out that it had been on sale the previous week.
- Take advantage of tax free weeks! If you live in an area that charges sales tax on clothing and other items you may need for the back to school season, investigate if your local government is going to designate a week during which they suspend these taxes and go shopping then.
- Don’t buy everything at once! While you want to take advantage of the sales, keep in mind that you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe in one day. There will be other sales in the future (around every holiday it seems) and particularly when buying for growing children, remember that they are likely to outgrow their clothes on a regular basis so you want to save money so that you can buy items as you need them.
- Find pieces that are versatile! You’ll get more out of your purchases if you buy shoes and other pieces of clothing that can work with a variety of outfits for a variety of situations.
- Buy items that will last! There is a strong temptation (particularly at the back to school time) to try to keep up with the latest fads and to buy a lot of items (even if they cost less and are lower quality). Resist this temptation and take advantage of the sales to invest in higher quality pieces that you will wear for a while! Otherwise you’ll find yourself needing another new wardrobe in a few short months.
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