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How to Save on School Supplies

School starts next week! Are you excited? This frugal teacher is! It's that time of the year when everyone needs to buy school supplies. Don't forget about Florida's Back-to-School sales tax holiday that ends on August 6th. You won't have to pay sales tax on clothes, shoes, backpacks, or school supplies. There are some limits to be aware of such as clothing or shoes cannot cost more than $100 per item and the school supplies limit is $50 per item. Take advantage of the money you can save from not paying sales tax and try to pair that up with the amazing deals going on at your local stores. Florida will have another Back-to-School sales tax holiday in January 2024.

Here are some tips to help you save on school supplies:

Get the list! Most schools have a school supplies list by grade level that you can get at the front office or on their Facebook page. The Walmart app has the lists for most of our local schools so you can see what the total is going to be for everything on the list and add it all to your cart with just one click. Teachers actually create those lists so you know exactly what to buy. You can always double-check with your child's teacher at Open House or Meet the Teacher to be sure you don't buy unnecessary supplies. Every teacher I asked said that not every single item on the school list was needed - so be sure to double-check!

Make a budget! Set limits on how much you plan to spend on back-to-school essentials. If your child will be with you when you shop, share your budget with them. When I was growing up, we were given a set amount to spend on back-to-school supplies, clothes, and shoes. If we wanted to spend more, we had to pay the difference out of our own money. Set limits with your kids to help them learn about budgeting and be firm with those limits when shopping. You could even make it a challenge and allow your child to keep any money that is leftover after buying everything you need. That will motivate them to stick to the budget, for sure.

Shop early! Don't wait until the last minute. Shop before school starts, if at all possible. If you really want to save money, shop for non clothing items without your kids. It can be hard for children to resist those adorable notebooks and folders with the puppies on them or the scented markers. However, those cutesy items won't be nearly as cheap as the plain notebooks, folders, and markers. For example, Walmart has plain spiral notebooks for only $0.35 and the ones with different designs on them are $2.68 each! The same was true for just about every school supply item I checked. Go with what's on sale to save the most money and don't be tempted to spend more on fancy school supplies.

Shop around! Walmart has amazing deals on folders, notebooks, glue sticks, crayons, etc. and you should definitely stock up any time the price of school supplies goes below $1. However, don't forget about stores like Dollar Tree and Dollar General where you can find sales, too. Even grocery stores can have deals on school supplies, so it's a good idea to keep an eye out to find the best deals.

Reuse what you already have! Does your child really need a new lunch box? Can that backpack make it another school year? Ask yourself if your child really needs the item or if the one from last year will do. You could always have your child start out the school year with last year's backpack and/or lunch box and see how long it lasts. Remember, there's another Back-to-School sales tax holiday coming up in January so you could wait a bit instead of buying everything new in August.

Don't forget to check prices online! Amazon has some really good back-to-school deals. This frugal teacher was able to find a backpack with good reviews for only $21 compared to $40 if I would've bought the one I found in Target. Don't worry, my son used the same backpack for 2 school years so it was time for a new one.

Saving on school supplies is pretty easy as long as you plan ahead. Catch the sales while you can and enjoy not paying sales tax for a few more days! Get the list from your child's school or teacher, make a budget, shop early and shop around, double-check prices online, and shop without the kids, if you can. Here's to another amazing school year!


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