5 Ways To Cut Back-To-School Shopping Costs

Now that you’re a parent the back-to-school shopping dips into your bank account, instead of your parents. It does not matter if you have 1 child in school or 5, it can get expensive. The more you have obviously, the more costly heading back to school can get. The clothes, shoes, backpacks, electronics, school fees and everything else, can get up there in price.

Here are a few tips for back-to-school shopping to cut back costs and save money!

1. Make a list- Before heading out the door to shop, make sure you have a list of what you need. Your list should include the standard supplies, such as paper, notebooks, pencils, erasers, crayons, ect. Also, make a list of your clothing needs. How many shirts, pants, shoes or clothing items your child needs. This will help you stay on track and prevent over shopping or spending.

This is something I must do! With 3 kids in school, I need to know ahead of time what we need. I ONLY shop from what we need and avoid purchasing things we do not really need. This time of the year, we shop for needs only and not wants!

2. Reuse what you have- Yep, reusing what you had from last year when possible can also help cut down costs. Have your child try on old jeans and if they still fit in the waist (but not in length), cut them off and turn them into shorts. This works best for girls, as cut-off shorts are super cute anyway! After they have been measured and cut, pop them in the washing machine and dryer to create the fray look.

3. Determine your spending limit before leaving the house!- If you plan on spending $200 or $400, make sure you know exactly what you can afford ahead of time. This will help keep your shopping to what you really need, and cut unnecessary things that are not truly needed. When you determine how much you plan to spend, estimate how much the supplies will cost, any school fees (books) clothing, and other necessities. Then break your list down by category.

Example: $250 spending limit

  • $25 school book fee
  • $50 for school supplies (paper, pens, notebooks, backpack, ect.)
  • $175 for clothing (shoes, shorts, shirts, socks, ect)

4. Keep to your list- After you have a list, let your child know what your budget is and how you are prepared to spend it. Older children will understand better, exactly how you plan on spending it. If they want a special pair of shoes, or bag, make sure they understand that the cost will come out of your budget. So if you plan on spending $175 on clothing and they want a $50 bag, there will only be $125 left for other clothing items.

Remember, not to overspend! Pay cash when possible to avoid credit card interest and fees!

5. Check for sales and coupons- Most stores offer sales and coupons during back-to-school time. If you plan on doing in-store shopping check out the flyers for specials and if possible shop from the sale items. Often, you can get more items when you purchase from sales.

If your shopping online, try to locate online coupon codes or free shipping offers. Remember, if your shopping online, that some stores charge shipping, so that will need to be calculated into your spending limit. Check out these back-to-school coupon codes I found. (I will be adding to list as I find more).

About The Shopping Mom


  1. JoeyfromSC says:

    These are great tips!! I definitely like #2! My godson started kindergarten yesterday..Wished I’d have seen this last week lol Thanks for the list!:)

  2. Small Footprints says:

    These are great tips … I especially like the reuse tip. When I was raising two little boys, I passed the older one’s clothes down to the younger one. But, to ensure that the younger one didn’t feel like he was wearing “old” hand-me-downs, I jazzed them up a bit … I dyed them or added new collars … I even tossed some bleach into tied up t-shirts before washing them to create a tie-died effect. With a little creativity … and old wardrobe becomes new.

  3. Following you from MBC. Great tips! Come visit me: http://www.frugalonthecheap.com

  4. These are great tips! I like the idea of only getting the amount of money out that you’re going to spend. That way you can’t go over. I also like the idea of just looking around the house for some of the school supply items. I used to do that when I was a kid and it was fine! In High School I didn’t really care if I got new things or not. I reused my Jansport backpack for 4 years! LOL.

  5. I’ve saved a ton of money by buying the basics for the first day, Then hopping over to the store if the teacher requires anything else!

  6. evelyn goettner says:

    Great tips. Setting a budget before you leave the house is my fav.