Back to school season is upon us.

It may be hard to tell, given that the future of when to reopen schools is currently up for debate. However, when it comes to planning for your children’s upcoming school year, you can never be too prepared. Even if their new classroom ends up being your living room, back to school supplies are essential to keep you and your children on track, and provide a sense of routine to get them back into the academic mindset.

Even though it feels like summer just started, the fall will be here before we know it. And truthfully, the back to school shopping season is already half way through. If you haven’t already begun loading up on pencils, notebooks, binders and everything in between, it’s time to start!

How Back to School Shopping Has Changed this Year

Though the impacts of COVID-19 may require more students of all levels to supplement their classroom time with at-home learning, the necessity of school supplies is still the same.

In fact, the National Retail Federation expects the total average of back to school spending per household to increase this year. In their research, they noted that parents with children in K-12 reported that they plan to spend an average of $789 per family, as opposed to $696 last year. Back to school costs for college students and their families are also expected to increase, from $976 last year to $1,059 this year per household.

This increase may come from the expectation to invest in electronics, like laptops and personal computers, to accommodate learning from home.

Back to school shopping starts a lot earlier than you think. Supplies go on sale as early as June, with peak deals right during the fourth of July holiday. The typical high time for shopping for supplies is late July through mid-August, however this does not mean that you are necessarily getting the best prices. Plus, the longer you wait, the more likely you will be scraping the bottom of the barrel, opting for the more expensive options because they are all that are left.

However, this year is quite different. Though back to school shopping has begun, consumers are taking longer to buy up supplies because they are unsure of when school will start and what they will need.

Preventative health measures have also shifted back to school shopping habits out of retail stores in favor of online shops. The trend of online shopping was already on the incline, but stay at home measures have pushed it into new heights.

Needless to say, don’t let these changes deter your back to school shopping plans. As we all have experienced in regards to online shopping during the pandemic, delivery times have been unpredictable, so waiting until the last minute will not serve you well. There are still basic supplies you can invest in now to get you ahead of the surge of shoppers waiting for specific lists.

5 Back to School Shopping Tips to Get You Ahead

In addition to shopping early, aka right now, there are other ways you can save on back to school supplies and set yourself and your children up for success in the fall.

1. Be resourceful

It’s hardly necessary to invest in brand new supplies every year. Before you start buying new, take a look at the state of the school supplies used within the last academic year in addition to supplies you already have lying around the house. By utilizing the supplies you already own, you’ll save money and get to cross those items off of your list!

2. Look for student discounts

Take advantage of your students status now and all year-round to receive special discounts on travel, supplies, technology and retail items. Many stores and services offer discounts for students, typically college students, if you can show a student ID.

3. Shop slow

Just because we are advocating that you start back to school shopping now, that doesn’t mean that you need to buy everything at once. Slowly purchase supplies as the school year approaches so that you can scope out the best deals. This will also give you a little extra time to figure out exactly what you need, which is essential if you have not already received an official supply list from the school.

4. Find the sales

There are so many sales for back to school supplies. In addition to those that started right after the Fourth of July, depending on what state you live in, you may also get to take advantage of a tax free holiday. Florida, Maryland, Ohio and many more states all have tax free weekends in August. During this time, sales tax is waived for items such as clothing, footwear and school supplies.

5. Diversify where you shop

Part of getting the best deals is comparing prices across online and brick and mortar stores. This will come in handy when shopping for school supplies to ensure that you can buy items at their lowest price. Though this may require you to visit various shops to get everything you need, it is worth it if you want to save money.

As shopping trends continue to favor online shops, you can also take advantage of the promotions and discounts offered by companies like RebateKey. In addition to giving you free access to coupons and discount codes, you can shop for items and receive up to 100% cash back rebates in the mail after purchasing.

It’s never too early to start saving. Sign up with RebateKey today and get your back to school shopping underway!


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