August is Back to School month and the Yahoo! Motherboard is talking all things educational. For me, this year's Back to School is beginning to feel like Back to the Poorhouse; school is starting in just 2 weeks, and all of a sudden I feel like our bank account is draining away like a leaky boat. It seems like the kids need new lunch boxes, new jackets, new shoes, new everything! If you feel that way too, here are 10 simple things you can do to save some money when planning your Back-to-School Budget:
1) Figure out what you really need. Just because you see all those snazzy ads for cool backpacks doesn't mean you have to buy them. If your child is entering kindergarten or first grade, chances are all he'll really need is a lunchbox. You may even be able to reuse some of his supplies from last year!
2) Organize a neighborhood school swap for bikes, sports equipment, and musical instruments.
3) Buy used. Private school uniforms can cost an arm and a leg, so check to see if your school runs a used-clothing program.
4) Pack your kids' lunches. Not only are homemade lunches more nutritious than school lunches, they're usually cheaper as well.
5) Buy reusable lunch containers. You'll save in the long run on paper supplies, and you'll be doing your part to save the earth.
6) Stick to a budget. Talk to your kids beforehand about their back-to-school outfits, jackets, shoes, and other school clothing. Set a spending limit so that there are no surprises after you get back from the mall.
7) Clip coupons. There are tons of money-saving coupons out there for all kinds of school supplies. All you have to do is check your local newspaper or use Google to find coupons online. Why pay full price when you can hand the cashier a piece of paper and save anywhere from 5% to 20%?
8) Shop sales. Ditto on stores running Back To School specials -- a little research can go a long way.
9) Buy in bulk. You know you'll be needing ten rolls of sticky tape and three dozen glue sticks, so head to your local warehouse club and buy supersize packs of school supplies, lunchbox snacks, and things you'll be using throughout the schoolyear. You'll pay less per item!
10) You get what you pay for. Investing in good-quality backpacks and lunchboxes might take a chunk out of your back-to-school budget, but they'll last longer than the cheapie variety.
Click here for more Back to School posts on the Yahoo! Motherboard!
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.