According to a recent Junior Achievement survey, 60% of parents surveyed said it is a challenge to afford school supplies. The survey revealed that 64% of parents expect to pay less than $500 per child on back-to-school items while 17% expect to spend more than $500 per child. Unfortunately, the latter group seems to have a better handle on the numbers; according to a 2017 Deloitte survey, the average spend in the northeast is $513 per child. Here are some ways to spend smarter!
Go directly to the source
New Jersey PTA president Rose Acerra said in-school stores are trying to help lighten the financial burden for students and families by selling supplies at a lower markup than routine retailers. According to Acerra, “We were finding that sometimes, a parent is working — they don’t have the time to bring their kids to Staples or to a store to get their supplies. It was easier for them to just write a check to the PTA store and then be able to purchase their products.”
Review your inventory
If you’ve been through the back-to-school shopping routine before, check to see what usable supplies you have left over from last year so you can avoid purchasing anything you don’t actually need. If you really do the math, just a few items could add up to a nice bit of savings! With that in mind, when it comes to items that have the potential for a longer shelf life, such as a backpack, consider this: investing a little bit more for better quality could end up saving you money in the long term.
Warranties for the win
Savings expert Jeanette Pavini of Coupons.com advises shoppers to give their business to retailers that offer generous warranties. This is a good indication that their products are made well, but if they don’t last or meet your child’s needs, you can return them.
Trust the [local] experts
Any parent is likely to agree that time and money are luxuries, so when it comes to shopping for getting “the right stuff” the first time around is a big win. A recent NorthJersey.com article recounted the experience of Wayne resident Laura Rumana, who recently visited Gibling’s Footwear in Oakland for the first time after finding herself having to return multiple pairs of shoes for her six-year-old son, Tommy, to Zappos.com. Ken Wrisley, store owner since 1986, measured Tommy and put him in a 5W sneaker — a lightbulb moment for Rumana, who’d been ordering size 3.5. Problem solved!
Play the waiting game
After the first few days of getting a lay of the land while spending time with classmates, kids may very well change their minds about some of the cool, trendy things they had on their wish list before school started. If you can spare that time, hold off to avoid any unnecessary spending. Depending on how long you wait, you may also find school supply prices have dropped!
Additionally, “Wait for Columbus Day sales to load up on fall shoes and apparel as well as sporting goods,” explained consumer expert Lisa Lee Freeman in a recent ABC News story. “The next few weeks are best for closeouts on summer clothing, which your kids will be wearing for at least the first couple of months of school.”
Rake in rewards
Retailer rewards programs come in especially handy around times like these when you know there’s some mandatory shopping to be done. But it’s not just stores offering this kind of incentive! One example is UChoose Rewards, a debit card reward program that allows you to earn points by shopping at some of your favorite retail locations. As an NVE customer, it’s easy to register your NVE Bank Debit Mastercard® for UChoose Rewards®.
Think long term
Unless your child is graduating from school, you’ll be in the same boat this time next year. Do your future self a favor and shop now for supplies you know you’ll need then. Think about the things you’ll always need, such as writing utensils, notebooks and poster board. Once the back-to-school rush has died down, the prices of those items and more are all but guaranteed to drop.
NVE Bank is here to help with a wide range of products and services to help you save money, reach your financial goals and more. Visit www.nvebank.com or visit one of our neighborhood branches, conveniently located throughout Bergen County, to speak with one of our Branch Associates. You can also call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265).