Get Out Those Checkbooks-It´s Back to School Shopping Time
Each end-of-summer I walk through the local drugstore and stare at the rows and rows of school supplies, or flip through advertisements for children and teen´s clothing, reminiscing about those end of summer days when it was time to return to school.
Now that I´m older, I realize that in only a few years, I will be perusing the shelves in search of clothes and materials that will be sent to school with my daughter and, a few years later, my unborn child.
Yesterday I scanned the price tags and was shocked to see how much pencils, pens, notebooks, and other supplies are now going for. The thought of supplying several children with these items is frightening.
It seems many other parents are frightened as well. According to cnn, shoppers are delaying purchasing their back to school items and they want to spend a little less than last year (http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/23/news/economy/bc.retail.npd.outlook.reut/index.htm).
We´ve been vacationing in Florida for the past week, visiting friends and family, and we hit the jackpot with our timing: This week is sales tax free shopping. This is the week in Florida when many parents rush out to purchase the much-needed school items for their children, since they can save a small chunk of money by not paying sales tax. For additional states that run similar programs, check out http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/20/pf/taxes/tax_holidays/index.htm.
I have friends that use other creative sales tactics for saving money during this time of the year. Some buy at the end of the previous year, stocking up on paper, pencils, crayons, and various other items as the department stores try to get rid of them before summer merchandise hits the shelves.
Other friends purchase clothes at the end of the fall and winter season and hang on to them until school begins the following year. Stocking up on clothes that are on clearance racks can definitely help your checkbook, but you must have enough room in which to store these items. And you needn´t have picky teenagers who will pout and complain about what you have bought when you pull it out six months later. So while this might work for some children, it might not work for all.
I don´t have this problem yet, as my children are younger, but I think the key might be to scour the ads and, well, just bite the bullet when summer comes to an end and the school bells start to ring once more. If you have any creative ideas for saving money during this time of the year, I´d love to hear about them.