Back to School Savings: How to Handle School on a Budget

If you’re currently unemployed and seeking a new job, back to school can be a stressful time for many reasons. Not only are you under a time crunch with the orientations, daily drop-off/pickup routine, lunch packing, and after-school activities (in addition to your job search), but your budget can also feel the strain. Back to school can be expensive, especially for those with multiple children and several school shopping lists to complete before the first day back in the classroom. Even after the first day, there are daily lunches that must be provided, school clothes and shoes needed throughout the season, etc.

So, how can parents who are feeling the financial burden handle back to school? Try these tips to save money (and stress) this school year:

  • Watch your local sale papers during the month of back to school. Here in Polk County, school starts back tomorrow, but many stores offer their back to school deals throughout the month of August. Some stores mark items down to as low as $0.01 each if you buy a certain amount, which makes them a great option for parents of several school-aged kids since they have to buy multiples anyway! Other stores offer “daily deals” (a different marked down item each day) or reward points and cash back for back to school shopping. If you handle school shopping with a strategic plan, you can save a significant amount of money.
  • Hit up your discount store. Stores like the 99-Cent store, the Dollar Tree, etc. offer lots of back-to-school supplies (even sanitizing wipes and Kleenex!) and can help you check off your child’s list without breaking the bank. Many of their products are the name brands you know and trust, so take time to investigate their shelves before you spend more at another location.
  • Buy lunch items in bulk. Membership clubs are a great way to buy in bulk, but many of our local grocery and big box stores sell certain items at really cheap prices if you buy X amount of more. Take advantage of these deals and stock up on non-perishables (like fruit cups, granola bars, peanut butter, etc.). Even bread, sandwich meats, and other refrigerated or perishable items can be purchased in bulk and then frozen to use as needed. Saving money on these items can help with spreading out the cost of lunch packing each day, and is usually much cheaper than buying your child’s lunch at school.
  • Look for school clothes and shoes on consignment. Kids outgrow clothes and shoes quickly, leaving their items very gently used. Shop local consignment stores or seasonal consignment sales to find your kids’ closing and shoes at greatly reduced prices. You can usually find top-of-the-line brand names at these sales, which means your kids will be proud to wear what you find. Wash them up, and they’ll never know they aren’t new!

We hope these tips help you feel more confident in your budget as you head into this school year. As you continue your job hunt, consider letting PHR Staffing Solutions help make the process easier. We do the hard work of hunting down positions for which you are qualified, filling out paperwork, handling payroll and insurance needs, and more. All you do is apply with us, and then wait on the right job for YOU. Give us a call or apply for one of our current openings here on our site.

Good luck to the students and teachers in and around Polk County that are heading back to the classroom tomorrow. Here’s to a great year!