(ARA) - The back-to-school season can become a very expensive time of year - especially if you have a child that grew several inches over the summer months.
Add to new clothes all the school supplies and sporting equipment she'll need if she decides to try out for a school team and you've got yourself a full list.
But there are ways to meet your budget, and make sure you get everything on your kids' back to school lists. Here are some tips to cut costs and keep money in your pocket:
- Only purchase what you need. Look over last year's equipment and have your child reuse pencils, pens, rulers or glue for the classroom. Sure, folders and notebooks take a beating so you probably will have to purchase some new school supplies. The same holds true for clothing. Find just a couple of mix and match outfits that will stand up to frequent wear and multiple washings to help reduce what you spend on clothing.
- Shop the sales. Many states offer clothing tax-free holidays during the back to school season, providing a nice discount. And most department stores also hold promotions and discounts on school supplies and clothing, so keep an eye out for store brochures that will allow you to comparison shop for the lowest prices.
- Stay home and save big online. Instead of driving all around town trying to find the best deals, stay home and shop your favorite stores through website like Ebates.com. For example, if you shop at jcpenney.com for school supplies, you not only can take advantage of discount codes and coupons through the Ebates site, but also receive up to 6 percent cash back check in the mail.
- Buy in bulk. Items are cheaper if you buy in bulk, so make a list of all the supplies your children will need for the entire school year and purchase them now, during the back-to-school sales. If you don't need such a large supply, ask a friend or relative to join you in the expense so all of your children can benefit from bulk shopping.
The back-to-school season is so exciting and you can easily get caught up in the flurry of activities while trying to get your children organized. But make sure you're an economical mom and stick to your budget so you can save money for some other fun activity.