The Key to Back-to-School Savings

Date August 6, 2014

 alt= According to Capital One’s recent Back-to-School Shopping survey, half of parents surveyed admit that price is a key factor when it comes to back-to-school shopping, but only 22% of teens see price as a high priority. Use back-to-school shopping as a way to start the conversation with your child about saving and smart spending, while still staying in style.

5 Tips to Smart Spending

 Saving on back-to-school shopping can be easy with these five spending strategies:

  1. Only buy what you need—Many kids have a stash of half-filled notebooks and leftover pens from last year. Take inventory of what you already have to ensure you don’t purchase double. Whether your kid is heading to elementary school or college, a little glitter glue can go a long way in sprucing up an old binder.
  1. Shop around—After shopping around at home, make a list of what you actually need and use it to create a budget. Encourage your teens or college students to use summer job or allowance money to pay for supplies, so they can exercise smart spending skills. Compare prices online at major retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Old Navy, Kohl’s, Amazon and Sam’s Club to see where you can get the best deal. 
  1. Cut costs—Use deals that you can apply to your entire purchase for buying supplies in bulk and for big electronic purchases. You might check out coupons and sale websites such as CardCash or Groupon to see if you can find gift cards at discounted prices, such as a $100 gift card for $90. 
  1. Buy in bulk—Buying in bulk can save you a bundle, especially on supplies like paper products and writing utensils. Get enough supplies to last you through the entire school year, then whatever you don’t use can roll over into the next year.  Avoid buying name-brand products, unless they are on sale. You might consider pulling coupons together with a friend to split the cost of bulk items for the most saving. 
  1. Pick the right day—Avoid a last-minute impulse shopping spree, which will likely result in overspending. Instead, plan ahead and seek out days when major retailers have sales. A NerdWallet study from last year concluded that August was the better month for back-to-school shopping than July.


How to Sell Savings 

Saving is paramount for parents, whose annual spending on back-to-school shopping hovers around $600-700. But how do you sell it to your kids? Here are three big motivators to help encourage your teens to save:

  1. Money doesn’t grow on trees—Teaching kids at an early age the value of their possessions is an important lesson. Purchasing something with their hard-earned money can drive home the cost. Plus, they will be more likely to value their stuff if they learn to save up using a savings account. 
  1. The more you save, the more you earn—When your child gets older, spending wisely and being up-to-date on account balances becomes more essential. A teen checking account with no maintenance fees is an ideal way to start them on the path to managing their own finances. Look for mobile banking to instill a sense of checking in regularly. 
  1. Planning ahead—Whether your teen is heading to college in a few years or is already enrolled, the financial independence isn’t far off. Make sure they have a line of credit under their own name and check that they understand their college and housing expenses and any loans. A little guidance can go a long way to making them feel confident about their future.

Empower your kids to exercise their own financial skills during the back-to-school season, and keep the continual conversation about savings flowing into the school year.


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