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6 ways to reduce back-to-school supplies costs

With the new school year fast approaching, many parents are wondering how to cut costs on school supplies. Last year, the average American family spent $890 on supplies, up nearly $25 from the previous year. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to prepare your kids for a successful year in the classroom. Read on for tips!

  1. Shop sales and compare prices

    Sometimes school supplies are on clearance in the summer months. For instance, Amazon Prime Day runs mid-July and is a great resource for gadgets and electronics. Try digital platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or OfferUp for supplies. Often, Goodwill or other thrift stores will have low-price items. Mark your calendars for the tax-free weekend, which occurs August 4-6 this year. 

  2. Repurpose school supplies from last year

    Audit what is already in the house. There’s an undeniable thrill to buying fresh, shiny supplies (especially for that new eraser smell!) but consider reusing pre-owned materials. Often kids will have extra notebooks, pens, crayons, rulers, and more. You don’t need to buy everything at once; it might be smarter to see what your children will need first.

  3. Consider ‘needs’ vs. 'wants’

    A trend we saw last year was a dip in clothing purchases. Parents are getting back to basics and buying things their kids will really need for school. Sometimes, though, half the fun of going back-to-school is shopping for new items. Consider taking your kids to the dollar store and giving them a set amount of money to spend on school-related purchases. This way wants are held in check, but the excitement of back-to-school shopping remains intact!

  4. Set a budget and stick to it

    Set yourself up for success with a plan. You’re taking control when you give your money purpose. The first step is prioritizing what your child will need. Usually, this will include classroom supplies and essentials over tech and clothing. Take your budgeting skills to the next level by exploring our no-cost BALANCE site, where you can speak with a financial counselor who can help you create a targeted spending plan for the school year.

  5. Try digital apps

    Did you know you can download many of your favorite stores’ apps? With access to apps you’ll be privy to discounts and specials. Local stores will often give you a discount code for shopping online. For even more savings, consider downloading apps that are designed for school supply deals (or bigger purchases), such as Flipp, School Supplies App, Rakuten, Slickdeals, PayPal Honey, and Amazon.

  6. Explore an education savings account

    For more long-term planning, consider opening a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA), designed to encourage savings toward future educational expenses such as books, tuition, uniforms, and room and board. With just $5 to start, and up to $2,000 a year in contributions, it’s an easy way to approach school expenses. It's quick and easy to open an account; visit a nearby branch or call 505-889-7755 (1-800-347-2838 outside the Albuquerque area) to open one today.