Over the past few years, I have seen an increasing number of messages and even cards that celebrate single moms on Father’s Day. Although I understand why single moms feel this way, I also think that we need to respect the integrity of Father’s Day.

According to Bankrate.com parents will spend $670 just to get one child ready for school this year.  Sending your child to college costs even more!  If you have more than 1 child, then it’s enough to make your head spin.  If you are getting ready to send your children to school this year, then here are a few tips to help you to reduce your costs.

Take Inventory for clothing and supplies.  Before you start shopping for new items, search your house and take inventory of all of the clothing and supplies that you have.  Identify which supplies will be needed in the upcoming year, and then check those off of the teacher’s supply list.  Once you identify all of the clothes that your child has, have them try on everything.  Things that don’t fit should either be donated, discarded or even identified as potential items for clothing swaps.  This will help you to keep those closets clean and reduce extraneous spending.  Once you take the inventory, make a list of the remaining items that you need.

Create a list and stick to it.  The teacher’s list has enough on it already, so please avoid the temptation to buy extra supplies that may not get used.  Also, stick to the list that you made once you took inventory of your supplies and clothing.  This will really help to avoid overspending because of impulse purchases.

Set a budget in advance.  Now that you have taken inventory and created a list, now take the time to look at your budget to see how much you can afford to spend per child.  If your child is old enough to start to learn about money management, then this is a great way to start the education process.  Tell your child that they have a certain amount of money to spend, give it to them in cash, give them the list of items that they will need, and then let them know that they can keep any savings.  This will incentivize them to find the best deals and maximize their budget.  This will also take the pressure off of you for saying no.

Clothing Swap.  Clothing can get very expensive and children grow fast and also are kind of messy.  Instead of buying clothing new, either check out a thrift or resale store like Once Upon a Child, or organize a clothing swap.  Get 6-12 parents together with children close enough in age, leave the kids at home, get some wine and swap clothing.  Each parent should bring 10 clothing items and they can leave with 10 “new” items.  This is a great way to freshen up the children’s wardrobe and purchase fewer new items.

Join the store’s community.  If you join your favorite store’s email list and follow them on social media then you will receive notice on sales and coupons.  Look at stores like Old Navy, Gap Kids, and The Children’s Place because they rotate their material often so ask the staff when they typically do their markdowns.  Also, if you buy an item and within 14 days it goes on sale, then they will do a price adjustment.  Also, looking at Retail Me Not’s Back to school web page will help you to narrow down which stores that you want to focus on based on who has the best deals. http://www.retailmenot.com/ideas/backtoschool

Buy a backpack that is built to last.  When purchasing backpacks look at brands such as JanSport and L.L. Bean.  These brands may cost more initially, but they are durable and have a lifetime warranty.  Therefore, if your children are hard on backpacks then you can send the item in for repair and if they can’t repair it then they will replace or refund the cost.  I used a JanSport backpack for years and even used the warranty, and my experience was fantastic.

Now that you know exactly how to save on your back to school purchases, now all you need to do is to figure out what to do with the savings!  Be sure to leave a comment to let me know how it goes.

If you want more tips and resources, download your FREE Hotsheet that will show you the best online savings sites and apps!  Click here to download!

Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), and creator of The Live Phenomenal Program. The Live Phenomenal Program is a program designed to give you the tools that you need to totally transform your finances, and stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal! Book your complimentary 20-minute financial clarity session with Aisha here.

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