7/23/2018 11:00:00 PM | Family Life

Smart Tips for Back-to-School Savings

You don’t have to overspend on the school supplies your kids need.
You don’t have to overspend on the school supplies your kids need.

Aside from wrestling your kids out of bed an hour earlier, one of the hardest parts of back-to-school season is covering the costs of the new school year.

According to the Huntington Bank Backpack Index, the average cost of sending a child to school in America is about $1,000:

  • $662 elementary school children

  • $1,001 for middle school children

  • $1,489 for high school students

These expenses include everything from standard classroom supplies and school activity fees to new clothes, technology and ­­– for those who can afford it – college test prep classes for students hoping to boost their ACT/SAT scores. Multiply these costs by two, three or four kids and you can see why your wallet could be feeling some serious heat this August.


Save Money on Back-To-School Supplies

So what’s a parent on a budget to do? With a little planning, there’s plenty of ways to spend less than $1000 per child to get them back to school without breaking the bank.Here are a few tips:


Set your school budget.

  • Figure out how much money you’ll need to spend on each child and start saving a little bit throughout the year.

  • Consider allocating a few dollars each paycheck to a savings account dedicated to paying school expenses. That way, you’ll avoid any last-minute scrambling for funds.


Get organized and recycle!

  • Sarah Serven, a public elementary school teacher in Portland, Oregon, recommends that parents talk to their child’s teacher before shopping. Explains Sarah, “Parents get overwhelmed with school shopping and sometimes mistakenly buy items that aren’t on the official list.” Ask the classroom teacher ahead of time, to make sure you only get what you absolutely need.

  • Make a list of all the school supplies and big-ticket items your kids will need and prioritize the essentials. You can always buy a few little things later in the year, when they’re more likely to be discounted.

  • Re-use and recycle as much as possible. If a child’s backpack or raincoat is in good shape, there’s no reason why it can’t be worn one more year.


Shop at discount stores.

  • Find basic school supplies like pencils, notebooks, glue, crayons, markers, calculators, tissue and sanitizer at discount stores like Dollar Tree and Discount School Supply.


Look for it online.

  • Do a simple Google search for whatever specific item you’re looking for and find the best deals.

  • Don't feel like you have to buy everything at one place. If you have time to shop around, you’ll likely find better deals.

  • Most stores will match the lowest price you can find on school supplies. Staples will match any price and give you an additional 10% discount. Target and Office Depot/Office Max will also match any price you can find online.


Follow your favorite stores on social media.

If you're looking for more savings, most companies reward their loyal customers by notifying them of sales before the general public finds out. Follow some of your favorites on Twitter or Facebook.


We're your back-to-school bank people

September will be here before you know it, but with a little preparation you can get your kids ready for the new school year without going over budget. An Access Checking account from Umpqua can help.  Get cash whenever you need it, with ATM fee rebates and no minimum balance requirements.

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