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Back to School Shopping on a Budget

July 31

While most kids cringe when they hear the words, “back-to-school,” many moms and dads secretly rejoice when they hear this saying. The summer was fun, hot and at times boring for kids. Now it is time for those school bells to ring. Mom and dad need a little break.

Back-to-school savings
Yes, parents need a break from their kids but they also need a break when it comes to back-to-school shopping. For this back-to-school season, the average parent’s spending per student is expected to be as much as $270, compared with roughly $250 in 2020. Prices on everything from clothing to notebooks are up this season. Now that most kids will be back to school in person after a year of virtual learning due to the pandemic, demand for products will be higher. That unfortunately means that most retailers will not be offering a lot of discounts.

Tell me how to save?
The best thing you can do when shopping for your elementary, middle and high school supplies, is to first perform a supply sweep. You may already have plenty of supplies just lying around your house in closets, drawers or the basement. When you find these hidden treasures, go ahead and put them all in a pile and make a list of what you have. Take that list to the store with you when you start shopping for school supplies. Make sure you also make a sweep of your kids’ closets. Look at the clothes they have outgrown or can still use for another year. You may need to take a cell phone picture to refresh your memory when you hit the stores. Speaking of supplies, another great idea is to have a supply swap with friends and neighbors who have school age children. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. Everyone is trying to save money.

Where else can I save?
Most states in our region have sales tax holidays when shoppers can buy items without paying sales tax. These are the days to buy clothing, computers and school supplies tax-free. Start hitting garage sales and consignment shops. You will no doubt be able to find designer clothing at a fraction of the cost. By the way, if you have never been a coupon clipper, back-to-school shopping is a great time to start. Most Sunday papers have a lot of deals for things like pens, batteries and folders. You can also sign up for a rewards program. Stores will do anything to attract shoppers. By using the same store for all your items you can easily maximize your rewards and save a lot of money.
What about those gift cards?
Remember all those gift cards you received and never used? Well, if you have unused cards, just sitting in your top drawer, why not trade them in for money. Check out websites that will turn those cards into cash. Remember, September will be a big month for savvy shoppers. Clearance bins will be everywhere. Take that list of items you still need to buy or start saving for next year.

Don’t forget the PERKS
That’s right, with a TVFCU Perks Checking Account, you can get local and national discounts on restaurants, cool attractions and of course back to school deals. Just go to your TVFCU PERKS checking app to see all the available discounts. For instance, Rack Room Shoes, at Hamilton Place, is offering a buy one, get one 50% off, perfect for back to school foot wear. 
For more information on TVFCU Perks checking, go to and look under the personal tab on the front page. If your child is heading off to school, you will definitely want to check out the cell phone protection and roadside assistance benefits.

Teach savings 101
Finally, turn your back-to-school shopping into a learning adventure for your kids. This is perfect time to teach them all about living on a budget. Let them help with the decision making about what to buy and where to buy it. Don’t forget TVFCU has an entire virtual video series called BizKids to help young people learn financial literacy.

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