A Parent’s Guide to Saving on Back-to-School Shopping

Back to School shopping never gets any cheaper and in fact, it actually becomes more and more expensive each year as cost rises. This rising cost for parents is also impacted by budget cuts throughout the school districts and it can be a struggle to fulfill the supply list that your child’s school sends out in the summer before the school year officially starts.

Parents now have to be creative when it comes to purchasing school supplies for their children and they have to be smart about their purchases so the impact on the wallet isn’t as severe as it could be. The money will still be spent, it will just be spent in a more practical way than rushing out the week before school starts and having to purchase everything on the list.

There are ways, however, that parents can save money and still send their children to school with all the supplies on the list that are needed to excel throughout the school year. Let’s break some down!

Back to School Shopping

Money-Saving Tips

Take Stock:

The first thing that parents can do to save money when it comes to back to school shopping supplies is to take stock of what is left over the year that just ended. This includes clothing, backpacks, pencil cases and lunch bags. Maybe what your child just finished using is still in good condition and can make it through another school year. If your child doesn’t want to return to school in the fall with the same backpack, then hand it down to a younger child or donate it to a charitable organization.

Clean out the closets of your child and make notes on what needs to be replaced and what doesn’t. Think gym clothes and sneakers that can make it through another year without replacement. If their outerwear is still in good condition – then reuse it!

Shop Sales:

For the items that have to be replaced such as pencils, coloring leads, pens, paper, etc. then it is important to look for sales instead of paying the full purchase price. Most major department stores and office supply stores will mark products down during back-to-school sales; so it is super important that you browse these specials and stock up at the right time.

Another option is to turn to online retailers that deal exclusively in office/school supplies; such as 123Ink.ca. Through this website, you are given discount prices on high-quality items and can earn reward points towards future purchases!

Thrift Shopping/Consignment Stores

If it is essential that your child has new clothes for back-to-school or they have outgrown the majority of their clothing; then why not check out your local consignment and thrift stores for amazing deals on barely used clothing? This is the perfect place to pick up those wardrobe pieces that are only worn at certain times, such as black pants and a white shirt for school concerts or gym clothing for a class that happens once or twice a week.


While there may already be a budget in mind for your child’s school supplies, why not budget the entire year? Put aside a small amount each paycheck (think $1.00 or $2.00) that will add up over the weeks of the current school year and can be used towards the following school year. If you have a surplus then put in back your savings account for those unexpected expenses that can arise like school fundraisers, field trips, etc.


Just because your child is heading back to school, it doesn’t have to mean that you are feeling the pinch in your wallet. With a few practical decisions and shopping changes, you can easily and comfortably outfit your child for their current school year.

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