Each summer seems to fly by faster and faster. What feels like a greater whiplash than the summers flying by? The back to school shopping bill. From new clothes to writing utensils, at times the back-to-school shopping list seems bottomless. Tapping into shopping hacks and knowing information on various back to school organizations can help parents avoid blowing a hole through the wallet whilst sending their children to class, well equipped for the new school year.
For first-time parents of elementary schoolers, the back-to-school shopping lists schools send in early August can be exceptionally overwhelming. From Sharpies, to specific colored socks, to tissues for the whole class, at times the list feels all over the place. To avoid feeling parents should review the previous 2022-2023 supplies list for reference. This hack allows parents to begin back-to-school shopping earlier, space out their budget and snatch school items before prices rise in August. To view the past school year’s shopping list, click on the following link to the KCPS shopping list website: kcpublicschools.org/families/school-supply-list.
Another more obvious solution is to reuse items for as long as possible. Usually, backpacks tend to be the most expensive item on the list so it is important to get a high quality bag that can last years. Along with this, parents may encourage their students to steer away from patterns on bags, pencil cases and shoes that they may not like in the next couple of years.
In high school, it may be useful to look at the future shopping lists your child will use to anticipate what they will need for the next year, as some items are especially expensive. For example, as a student advances in math, once they reach geometry they may be required to purchase the Ti-84 calculator – a tool whose prices range between $90 and $120.
Knowing this requirement in advance enables parents to slowly budget for the purchase over time. And if a child has graduating siblings, the Ti-84 is a long lasting calculator that may be passed down between siblings.
A great way to offset the pricier items on a student’s back to school supplies list is to look out for Missouri’s Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. Tax-free weekend omits taxes on items that meet the following categories: Clothing, School Supplies, Computer Software, Personal Computers, Computer Peripheral Devices, and Graphing Calculators. After purchasing these items during tax-free weekend, many parents will have saved upwards of $100. Every year, tax free weekend takes place during “a three-day period beginning at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August and ending at midnight on the Sunday following.” This year’s tax-free weekend will begin Friday, August 4 and end Sunday, August 6. To find out more information, visit the state’s Department of Revenue website.
Every year, as elementary, middle and high schoolers go through intense growth spurts, an unplanned cost to the back to school budget can be properly fitted clothes for the new school year. In addition to shopping for clothes during tax free weekend, in the future, be sure to capitalize on summer holiday sales to lower the cost of clothing for children. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends are all great opportunities to purchase clothing.
While tips, advice and various “life hacks” can aid families with back to school shopping, at the end of the day, when money is tight, sometimes the reality is there may not be enough space in the family budget for all of the back to school necessities. To help combat this struggle, there are organizations that help distribute books, clothes and other materials to families in need.
Visit NortheastNews.net for a list of back-to-school events.