According to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics, total spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $82.8 billion. To break that down into a more relatable number, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average $684.79 each; families with college-bound students (including students purchasing for themselves) plan to spend an average $942.17 each. The survey found that many parents and college students are waiting for the best deals to complete their shopping; however, there are ways to save regardless of when sales hit stores.
Start at Home
Take inventory of what’s in usable condition from last year. Crayons and pencils can be sharpened. And how about that notebook with only a few pages filled up? Rip them out and reuse them!
Stick to the List
Most schools provide supply lists for families to abide by. Sticking to that list ensures you’ll get what you need. Wards 5 & 10 in Closter takes it conveniences to the max for its customers by filling boxes with supplies from local school supply lists, providing them with exactly what they need at no extra charge. Talk about customer service!
Share the Load
Warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJs can help families save on all kinds of items by buying in bulk, but the average two-child family may not necessarily need school supplies in such large quantities. One way to leverage bulk savings without ending up with excess is to split the costs with other parents who have kids in your child’s grade. This “sharing” approach also works for items you purchased last year but didn’t use or may not need again this year, such as clothing and often-pricey sporting equipment.
Stores like Staples and Best Buy guarantee a Price Beat, so be sure to research promo codes and coupons before making purchases — especially big-ticket items — and always negotiate. Speaking of office supply stores, while it makes sense to think school supplies might be most expensive there at this time of year, you might be surprised by the deals they offer. For example, a quick search on Staples’ website presented discounts on school supplies as deep as 84%!
Spend [Wisely] What You Save
According to consumer expert Andrea Woroch, shoppers can save 20-30 percent between generic and name-brand options. Take a standard college-ruled notebook, for example. Ms. Woroch found a store-brand option on sale for $5, compared to $6 for the Five Star brand. One dollar in savings doesn’t seem like a lot on its own, but when you apply that kind of savings across your entire shopping list, it adds up! Shop smart by reinvesting those savings into items that are worth spending more on, such as backpacks. Buying a well-made backpack will decrease the likelihood of it falling apart from daily use or washing, and some may also provide your child with better physical support.
Tap into a Teaching Moment
The American Bankers Association offers a great tip for helping children learn good money management skills: “open up a savings account at your local bank for your children and take them with you to make deposits so children can learn how to be hands-on in their money management.” Back-to-school provides the perfect platform to put this lesson in motion.
Due to the ubiquitous nature of social media, students are exposed to more information than ever before, which has led to them having more opinions and preferences about the items they want. For better or worse, this presents an opportunity for parents and caregivers to educate their kids about planning and budgeting. The survey found teenagers will spend $35.60 of their own money on average for back-to-school while pre-teens will spend $25.06. It’s never too early to open a savings account for your child! NVE offers a range of interest-bearing accounts to suit different needs and savings goals, with a minimum balance requirement as low as five dollars.
NVE Bank is here to help our customers throughout Bergen County and surrounding New Jersey communities with a wide range of products and services to help save money, reach financial goals and more. Visit www.nve.bank. or visit one of our neighborhood branches to speak with one of our Branch Associates. You can also call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) or connect with us online.