CLEVELAND — With inflation driving up the cost of goods, some parents might be dreading the annual back-to-school shopping trip.
Although prices on some items have gone up, there are ways parents can save big going into this upcoming school year.
Rachel Krych, a blogger with Couponing with Rachel, said the best way to save money this season is to avoid buying school supplies altogether.
“So, the very first thing I suggest people do is look through the closets and book bags from last year and find out what you already have,” Krych said.
She said items like clothing, backpacks can often be reused each school year, which can save parents big money in the long run.
If parents do have to go shopping, Krych recommended they shop around before they make a purchase.
Different stores can have unique deals on certain items. Having a coupon or rewards card can also help parents save, with stores such as Target offering a 5% discount for Red Card holders.
Other box stores like Kohl’s and Staples also offer their own rewards programs, with Kohl’s offering 35% off for shoppers who open a new Kohl’s card, and Staples giving some of its rewards members up to 5% off on purchases.
Krych said parents also tend to overlook drug stores for school supplies, but these retailers oftentimes have great deals on supplies like pencils, pens and crayons.
“A lot of these stores are going to have rock bottom prices right now. There are some stores that are going to have cheaper prices than others,” Krych said.
Looking for coupons and shopping the clearance aisle can also be effective for those seeking to cash in on some big deals.
Krych said despite inflation, a lot of back-to-school items are being marked down on clearance. This is especially true when it gets closer to the first day of school, when stores are trying to sell the items they have left. Parents can also check online to see what deals are out there before they head to the store.
“I encourage people to check their emails and check what emails and deals that are coming in your inbox,” Krych said. “So that way you can maximize your savings.”
Parents can also save money by shopping for their child’s school supplies in bulk. Krych said buying more supplies now can keep money in parents’ pockets during the school year. For example, for children in the younger grades, keeping extra crayons at home can be helpful when the box they have at the beginning of the year runs out.
Krych said buying in bulk can be especially helpful for parents with multiple children starting a new school year because they can split up the supplies as opposed to making multiple purchases.
And speaking of kids, if you have some, Krych said to leave them at home if possible.
Going back to school shopping with children can end up costing more money because stores often place the most expensive back-to-school items on eye level for the kids to see. Krych said leaving your kids at home can help you get in and get out with only the items you really need.
“So, you know, if you have someone to watch the little ones and you can do that shopping by yourself, I think you'll really save some money,” Krych said.
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