Much to the delight of many parents, Canadian students are returning to school in just a few more weeks. And while your kids may have a list of required items, you may need to ask yourself whether you saved up for the back to school shopping event at hand. Well, did you? If not, you’re not the only one. See how other parents are faring and how you can save on your back to school expenses.
Family Back to School Shopping Habits
It appears the cost of school supplies increases every year. Canadians are expected to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on essentials such as supplies, as well as electronics and new clothes.
Refer to the below infographic to see how Canadian parents are spending on school supplies this year.
Avoid these Mistakes When Shopping for New School Items
As with anything having to do with spending money, looking for sales, discounts, and rebates are where you should start. That, coupled with sticking to your list of essentials – and only your essentials – can keep you from overspending. Resist the urge to buy something for yourself and you may just come out ahead! Review the common mistakes below to avoid them yourself.
Mistake No. 1 – Forgetting the power of a budget
Make sure you know how much you need to spend before setting out on your endeavor. Gather the list of essentials, and list price estimations per each item. You can do this by doing a cursory search online. Some school lists will even have the prices listed for you. Determine whether you have these funds already available. Determine the highest amount you are willing to pay for everything and resolve not to go above it.
Mistake No. 2 – Not leveraging credit cards to your advantage
If you must use a credit card to make these school purchases, ensure you:
- Can pay the card off in full at the end of the month
- You can get cash back, points, or flight mileage
Use these principles for all of your credit purchases to maximize rewards and reduce interest and debt.
Mistake No. 3 – Not shopping online
For some reason, many parents opt to go visit brick and mortar stores when it’s time to go back to school shopping. It makes sense, because there are so many sales and an abundance of supplies readily available. But do not forget to check online sales and retail coupons for online shoppers. Not only can you save as much as you would in store, but you can do it from the comfort of your home. Look for special online pricing, free shipping, and other perks. Not to mention, you’re saving on gas, too.
Mistake No. 4 – Saving future items for later
One of the major oversights is waiting for the right season to make a purchase. For example, many winter items go on sale during the spring or summer months. If you see a jacket or boots on sale, pick them up now! You know your child is going to need it in a few months. The same goes for items such as pens, pencils, notebooks, and notecards. Once the school items are on sale, and if you have a budget for it, buy enough for the following year. Doing so can allow you to spend more of next year’s budget on other items. Or, you can save the excess for other expenses.
Try Our Back to School Budget Calculator
Once you have a good idea what you’re going to purchase for the new school year, create your own back-to-school budget. Start with your child list of essential school supplies to get started below.