Going back to school this fall looks very different this year and many parents feel stressed trying to adapt to remote learning while also working from home. Not to mention, distancing learning comes with higher costs, too. In fact, the 2020 Back-to-School Survey from Deloitte found that 51% of parents will spend more on internet-based learning resources including virtual tutors and e-learning subscriptions. Not to mention, parents are looking at dishing out nearly $400 for computers and hardware.
Considering that many U.S. households have experienced some income disruption during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to find ways to save on school essentials.
Luckily, saving on school essentials isn’t too tricky. Just follow these 5 steps to shop savvy and stretch your virtual school shopping budget.
Shop at home.
Before you buy a bunch of items off your child’s school supply list, check around your home for leftover supplies that can be reused. You may be able to find scattered markers or crayons to make a set or even a half-used notebook can do the trick at least for the first couple of months of school. Otherwise, scoop out those penny deals advertised among office suppliers and big box stores to snag a box of crayons for 50-cents and a folder for 5-cents.
Set up a swap.
If you have items and clothing you no longer need, chances are other families you know do, too. This is a great time to set up a swap in your neighborhood and with other parents from your school to trade gently used school supplies, clothing, and sporting goods. You can even join a swap group through social networks like Facebook or check out Swoondle Society, an online member marketplace for trading kids’ clothes, shoes, and accessories. For as little as $5, they send you a reusable bag that you fill with your child’s outgrown wardrobe to trade up to clothing in larger sizes.
Look for coupons.
Before buying anything, always compare prices and run a quick search for a coupon code. Even a few dollar savings adds up! You can type the retailer name along with the term coupon code or head straight to a site like CouponFollow.com to search for promo codes by store name. Here, you will find online coupons like 20% off at Office Depot, an exclusive 10% off everything at Overstock.com (the perfect place to snag a desk on the cheap!), and an extra 20% off including sales at Old Navy. You can even download their browser tool, Cently, which automatically searches for and applies any available coupons to your cart for instant savings.
Take advantage of free resources.
Many companies and no profits are trying to support families across the country by offering free or low-cost services and a little research can help you save money. For instance, the Khan Academy provides free learning video courses designed for preschool to k-12 and EveryoneOn.org ensures families facing financial hardship get access to free and low-cost Wi-Fi and computers.
Opt for refurbished.
With families spending 30% more on electronics for school this year, finding savings is more important than ever. And, you don’t have to skimp on quality or brand names to stretch your dollars. In fact, you can save approximately 30 to 60% off regular retail prices by opting for a refurbished laptop, tablet, smartphone or headphone. Stores like Best Buy dedicate an entire section to open box and remanufactured tech, while sites like Newegg, eBay and Dell Outlet are other great sites to shop for certified refurbished school gadgets. Just make sure it’s certified and comes with a warranty for added purchase protection.