July 28, 2021

9 Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping


Once you have finally settled into a relaxed summer routine, retailers start rolling out their back-to-school displays and blasting you with the newest school accessories that your child is dying to have this year. From new clothes to backpacks to lunch boxes, they want to have the latest thing- it’s endless and expensive!

The National Retail Federation conducted a 2021 survey and found that the average American family may spend upwards of $800 for elementary school through high school student supplies. College students are stuck with a steeper price tag of $1200 for dorm accessories and clothing, but it does not include textbooks prices or housing costs.

Back-to-School Savings

Don’t let getting the supplies list put a damper on what’s left of your summer. Instead, follow these tips to help you take a proactive and mindful approach to your shopping for this school year. These tips could save you hundreds and let you enjoy the last few weeks of summer.

1. Check Your Storage

Before you head to the store, check your closest to see if you have extra supplies lying around. You may have an unused box of pencils, or an empty spiral notebook tucked away. There’s no need to buy all new things every year if you already have the stuff you need.

2. Track Down Coupons

To some, couponing can sound like a major hassle. But others see the benefit and enjoy the added savings. There are many ways to help you save; cash-back apps like Ibotta, coupons directly from a brand, or coupon websites like Coupons.com could help you save big.

3. Buy From the Dollar Store First

Before you go to a superstore, browse through the dollar stores to find supplies that you can score for only a dollar. No need to pay top dollar for school supplies! They may not have everything you need, but the trip could save you money on essentials like hand sanitizer, pencils, or glue sticks.

4. Organize Your Kid’s Closet

This time every year, kids want to throw out their whole closet and get new stuff. Work together to go through their closest and see what they have. Have fun with it and play some music to have a fashion show! This way, you can figure out what still fits and what they actually need.

5. Hunt Through Secondhand Stores

For the clothes that they do need, check out a thrift store or consignment shop. You never know what you may find, but you may have the best luck finding jeans, t-shirts, or shoes. Also, many stores will display more backpacks this time of year. These stores are great options for more items at a lower price.

6. Shop Tax-Free Weekend

Many states, including Oklahoma, offer a tax-free weekend on clothing and shoes. This year’s holiday weekend in the Sooner State is August 6-8, 2021 so be sure to take full advantage of the discount. The tax-free holiday can help ease the financial burden of clothes shopping, especially for parents with several children.

7. Look Early in the Week

Stores that have weekly sales on supplies may change the prices on Sunday or Monday. The early bird gets the best deals! Try going to the store earlier in the week, so the things you need are more likely to be in stock.

8. Utilize Price Matching

Several larger retailers offer price matching in-store that will match or beat a competitor’s lower price. As a result, these retailers may provide you with some much-needed savings!

Many stores you may be visiting this season offer in-store price matching or even match/beat a competitor’s lower price.

  • Staples will match a lower price on an identical item and throw in an additional 10 percent discount.
  • Kohl’s will offer you the same price as a competitor as long as you bring in the competition’s ad.
  • JCPenney will give you back 5 percent of your purchase price if you find an identical item with a lower price elsewhere.

9. Coordinate With Friends

If you have a surplus of pencils or crayons, reach out to other parents if they need those supplies. It takes a village, so use yours to help each other! Have a backpack swap for bags in good condition when your kids insist on a new one for the new year. Let each other know of a good sale or pass down clothes that would fit their kids.

What’s Next?

A school supplies list shouldn’t give you anxiety. Instead, use these easy tips to help you save money and be excited to send your kids back to school this year!

This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.