(Family Features) It's that time of year again. Parents are preparing for the rush of back-to-school with a seemingly never-ending to-do list. As you run around to purchase school supplies, uniforms and sneakers it can be a busy and expensive time of year.
Tackle back-to-school season with these tips to save money and maybe even help you buy back a little time before the school bell rings.
Get the kids involved before you leave home. Jumping in the car and hoping for the best as you travel from store to store isn’t likely to net much more than a headache – especially with the kids in tow. Instead, get them involved before hitting the shops and have them browse online retailers and catalogs. With a list in hand, you can plan your trip before you leave the house or take advantage of free shipping or in-store pick-up offered by many retailers.
Shop early and often. The back-to-school season seems to get earlier every year and many retailers offer deals each week on everyday school supplies and electronics. For those looking to save, shop early and often during the 3-4 weeks leading up to your child’s start date and subscribe to retailer newsletters online for deals delivered directly to your inbox.
Check sizes before you start. You may know there are three good pairs of jeans in your child’s drawer, but the first cold morning of fall is no time to discover that they’re now an inch too short. Before you shop, try on what you already have to determine whether it’s time to size up and get a better idea of what needs replaced.
Anticipate the need for (more) new shoes. One inevitable truth about kids: they grow, seemingly overnight. All the hours you spend shopping can feel futile when your child needs a new pair of shoes just weeks after school starts. To save time and money, be ready when your kids hit their next growth spurt with subscription services like EasyKicks. Delivered on-demand, it offers the latest Nike and Converse sneakers for preschoolers through teens. When kids are ready for a new pair, simply swap them for a new size or style and return the old pair in a prepaid envelope to be donated or recycled. Sign up and learn more at easykicks.com.
Double-up on everyday supplies. If possible, buy back-up school supplies while you’re making the rounds – especially if you spot a buy-one, get-one-free deal. If your school supply list asks for one box of crayons, buy an extra set and put it aside in a designated drawer at home. Without fail, kids will run out of notepads or pencils at some point during the year, and you can send in fresh supplies without another trip to the store.
Armed with these tips, your time spent back-to-school shopping should be shorter and your stress levels – and credit card bill – lower.