Original note posted on NerdWallet
For parents is that back to class means a he came back output: We recently found that despite the pandemic, around half of parents who plan to shop early this year are expecting to spend about as much as they normally do, with more of it being spent on clothing than in 2020.
The pandemic has added new items to shopping lists. More and more schools are asking students to bring their own bottles of water and, in some cases, large quantities of items like pencils and crayons while teachers try to replenish classrooms, says Charles Field, executive director of Teacher lists, which publishes nearly 2 million offer lists provided by schools. Due to challenges in the supply chain, it is also more difficult to find discounts on starting school items this year, he says. “When retailers sell out, they are less likely to have very low prices, especially for products made abroad,” he says.
Despite these challenges, there are ways to keep costs under control. We asked parents and educators about their best strategies.
Do an inventory before buying
Given so many students were in virtual or hybrid schools during the pandemic, says Nedra McDaniel, mother of two and founder of the blog Adventure mom, suggests checking what you currently have, both for school supplies and clothing. Children may not have school clothes but others may not and you need to know these details before going into stores. “Otherwise you end up buying things that you don’t really need,” says McDaniel. “I came back and saw that we had new scissors from last year.”
He also suggests waiting to buy autumn and winter clothes. They’ll likely go on sale later in the season, and the kids may be of grown-ups anyway. “You don’t have to get everything at once,” he says. Jeans, for example, will go on sale in October. Keep an up-to-date list of what you need and your children’s sizes on your phone so you can take advantage of the deals when you find them, advises McDaniel.
- To find out more: School calendar 2020-2021 SEP: There will be 190 days
Wait when you see discounts
Due to the stress on the supply chain from the pandemic, retailers are running out of standard items that children may need, such as folders, backpacks and notebooks, Field says. “Buy early this year,” he advises, and if you see discounts, don’t wait to take advantage of them as products may soon be disappearing or being restocked at higher prices. You also noticed that back-to-school sales started in early summer, perhaps as a result of Amazon Prime Day in June.
Alissa Davis, a mother and first grade teacher in Indianapolis, says she makes bargains by buying items like glue sticks, paper, and pencils in bulk, then slowly consuming them throughout the school year. “You never know when you have projects to work on at home, so it helps to have them. You can buy in bulk and then give it away for the next year or two, ”he says.
Davis, who also shares suggestions on his website, teachermamalifeblog.com, says you don’t have to wait to get your delivery lists. Shop when you see discounts: “You can predict some things your child will need or want, so watch the sales,” he suggests. Some stores also offer bundles of discounted items, but sometimes they have extra accessories that you don’t need. Similarly, schools sometimes offer a parental supplies package, but you may be able to pay less if you shop at wholesale stores (in Mexico, a good option would be to check out the stationery stores of places like Pino Suárez in the historic center). ).
Image: Enrique Alfaro via Facebook and Alto Nivel
Check your local business
Davis says he found great deals at the local grocery store recently. “These stores buy school supplies and then want to get them out quickly to make room for the fall decorations,” he says, adding that grocery stores often have loyalty programs that offer additional discounts. Some cash back credit cards also offer grocery stores as a bonus category, which can translate into even more savings.
Buy individual items in physical stores
When shopping online, it’s easy to compare prices and quickly add items from a school supplies list. But that way, Field notes, you can’t just buy a glue stick or two, for example; You may need to buy a bundle with several. This approach might work if you’re running out of inventory for multiple kids, but if all you want is one glue, you are likely to find better deals shopping at a brick and mortar store.
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Ask for help when you need it
Some items on the school supplies list may not be strictly necessary or may not be needed until later in the school year. Davis suggests asking your child’s teacher to help you prioritize between what you really need on day one and what you can expect. “There are some things that I kept in a closet or leftovers that I could give to the students. Teachers can help you sort things out if you are in a bind, ”she says.
He adds that teachers can refer you to community organizations that run utilities if you need additional help.