4 Easy Ways to Save During Back-to-School Season
It’s every parent’s favourite time of the year – not so much for kids. With the summer winding down, it’s almost time for back-to-school shopping. While back-to-school is the perfect time to stock up on supplies, if you’re not careful it can weigh you down financially for the months to come. If you end up overspending, you might not have enough money to top up your child’s RESP and take full advantage of potential government grants.
Back-to-school shopping seems to keep getting more costly with each passing year. According to online deals site RetailMeNot.ca, Canadian families spend more on back-to-school shopping than during the holidays – yikes!1 Their survey finds that Canadian families are expected to spend an average of $883 on back-to-school supplies this year. That’s $325 more than they spent on holiday gifts in 2016.2
Over half of the parents who took the survey also said that back-to-school shopping puts a strain on household finances. And 40 per cent of those respondents said it takes them months to pay off their back to school credit card bill.
Back-to-school spending is a lot more costly than it used to be and the main reason is technology. Tech gadgets, such as laptops and smartphones, are costing parents an arm and a leg. They’re spending an average of $580 on laptops and $250 on smartphones.3 Other costly expenses for parents include clothing and shoes (an average spend of $300) and school supplies (an average spend of $100).
With all that said, Here are four tips to avoid digging yourself into a financial hole for the rest of the year.
1. Be Organized & Prepared
Overspending on back-to-school is no fun. Not only can it cost you a ton of credit card interest, you might not be able to contribute as much money as you’d hoped to your child’s RESP. To avoid this, plan ahead and create a list. Do an inventory of what you already have – you might be surprised you already have a ton of school supplies buried at the bottom of your child’s dresser. After that, go to the retailers with your list in hand. That way you’ll be less likely to be tempted by impulse purchases.
2. Shop Around and Save
You’re likely going to be spending a pretty penny on back-to-school shopping, so it pays to shop around. While your local mall is a good first stop, it shouldn’t be your only stop. Check out the flyers of competing retailers to see if you can find a better deal. Don’t just limit your shopping to brick and mortar retailers. You might be able to find a better deal online. You won’t know unless you check.
3. Save on Laptops
If you’re in the market for a new laptop for your child, don’t go overboard. You can easily spend a few hundred or a few thousand depending on what you buy. To save money, consider buying a refurbished model. When it comes to choosing a model, don’t go overboard on the processor; there’s no point in paying a ton of money for a powerful computer if your child is only using it for homework.
4. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
If you’re looking for deals on back-to-school supplies on Labour Day weekend, it’s likely too late. Start planning early. Many retailers offer their best back to school deals in August leading up to the big day. If you wait until the last minute, you more than likely missed out on all the best deals.
Wishing your family a happy and productive school year ahead!