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Lessons in cheap

Feeling stressed about back-to-school shopping? You’re not alone!

Feeling stressed about back-to-school shopping? You’re not alone! According to a July 2011 survey conducted by VISA, Canadian households are frazzled by the crowds and are feeling gouged at the till.

The average family plans to spend $400 dollars this year on back-to-school paraphernalia. Of that, almost 50 per cent will be allocated towards clothing.

Save money on back-to-school shopping by slicing your budget in half, starting early and getting creatively frugal. Take an inventory of what you already have; pens, paper, software, backpacks, etc. Don’t buy new supplies just because Junior wants them. Shop for necessary supplies throughout the year when stores have sales. Many stores are suffering from low consumer spending and plan to blow out inventory at clearance prices this fall to stimulate sales volumes. Get there early before the quality supplies have been picked over.

Hit up thrift shops, garage sales, neighbourhood clothing exchanges, and websites like eBay or Craigslist. See if you can pick up gently used supplies, computers, furniture, or clothing.

Costco or other wholesalers carry a variety of back-to-school inventory at affordable prices. If your kids have outgrown clothes or no longer need their textbooks, sell them on consignment or exchange with another family.

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on back-to-school shopping. School is a place of learning, not a fashion show.

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