There are lots of ways to save on school supplies.

Keep back to school costs down

A few handy tips to help you save money during the second biggest shopping season of the year.

Back to school is almost here, and that means shopping for school supplies. This is the second biggest spending season of the year (Christmas is first), and it’s estimated that across North America more than $70 billion will be spent on new clothing and supplies as students head to the classroom.

For many families it’s an expensive time. Here are a few tips to help parents navigate the back to school spending season without breaking the bank.

Compare prices before you hit the stores. Looking at flyers and online sites in advance can help you find the best deals, and save time and legwork. Look out for coupons, sales days, and cash-back rebate offers.

Most schools give out grade-specific lists of what materials students need. If your child didn’t get one, or you misplaced it, check the school’s website to see if it’s posted online, or get a copy from another parent. The list will help prevent the purchase of unneeded items.

Take advantage of bulk buying. If you have more than one child who needs the same things, take advantage of multi or jumbo packs to keep unit costs down. It can also be worthwhile to go through your child’s leftover supplies from last year. There’s no point buying a new ruler if your daughter still has a perfectly good one.

Check to see if your child’s school, or classroom teacher, buys supplies in bulk and charges parents a set fee. This is a great way to keep costs down and ensure your child gets exactly what he needs.

Make sure you know the store’s return policy before you buy, and keep all packaging and receipts. This is especially important with clothing. Also be aware that even if a store does have a return policy (not all do), you might not get a 100 per cent refund and/or there might be a time limit for returns, so ask the store for clarification before you leave.

If you decide to buy online, be aware that shipping costs can be high, so look for stores that offer free shipping above a certain amount spent. If your purchase doesn’t reach the required threshold, consider going in with another parent. Also make sure that the point of purchase web page’s URL contains “https://” and the lock sign, which means it is a secure site.

If you make purchases from an online site such as Craigslist, don’t wire money to anyone you don’t know. Try to use a third party site such as PayPal if possible. If you decide to use cash, arrange to meet the seller in a public place and bring a friend with you.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Savona athletes bring bronze medals back from BC Winter Games

Akira Susanj and Alexander Teague both competed in Karate events

Drag races returning to Campbell Hill for Graffiti Days weekend

Four events are planned at the dragstrip starting in May

Historic Hat Creek set new visitor record during 2019 season

Heritage site looking to build on last year’s success in 2020

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Former Clinton resident thinks he might have solved a history mystery

David Zant has a possible location near Clinton for where a historic picture was taken

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Most Read