It may be hard to believe but it’s “back to school” time for some students. Sure, August is still a week away but some districts in Florida and elsewhere will get started by August 10th while a number of year-round districts are already in session. For everyone else, preparation for the upcoming academic year will soon be underway which means that morning traffic will be peppered with its share of big yellow school buses.
This school year promises to be a challenging one for students, parents, teachers and administrators alike. Funding cutbacks means classes will be larger with some special courses dropped and extracurricular activities discontinued. Families will also be faced with another challenge – back to school shopping – which can cost some people hundreds of dollars per student. Fortunately, there are ways for families to save including the following:
Tax Free Weekends – A number of states still have them so if your state is planning a “sales tax free weekend” then why not participate? Stores typically roll out their lowest prices of the season in a bid to compete for customers, yielding savings on that end. Additional savings are realized on the taxing end when eligible items are not taxed.
Back To School Sales – Some jurisdictions no longer support “tax free weekends” as funding problems have kept these governments from giving up an important amount of revenue. In any case, shoppers can still realize big savings by shopping at stores who are holding “Back To School” sales. During these times the biggest savings can be had with some stores agreeing to “pay” or discount the sales tax amount.
Shop Online – Your best savings may be realized if you choose to shop online for your family’s back to school needs. Online shopping is often exempt from sales while shipping is sometimes included for free especially if you reach a certain spending threshold with one merchant. Moreover, overhead for online merchants is usually significantly lower meaning that some of these savings are then passed off to you.
Don’t Buy – This is a tough call – so many schools share lengthy lists of items, but do you need to buy everything on the list? Some parents object to demands for copier paper, paper towels, tissues and other non-learning supplies, knowing that these items will be used corporately. Perhaps this is a small issue, but there is a principle some will stand on.
Of course, if you’re buying for your children then avoid using credit cards especially if don’t have the means to pay off what you owe right away. Some supplies may be able to wait until later in the school year, stuff that can be had at deep discounts if you wait.
Photo Credit: Sophie
Adv. — College students heading out for classes in the coming weeks will want to make sure that all of their funding is in place. Student loans from Sallie Mae can help close the financing gap this year.
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