The biggest money saver, for me, is don't buy it at all if you don't HAVE to.
Its so tempting to buy those 1 cent pencils and 10 cent glue sticks, but I usually have the kids go through ands sort what we already have...its amazing what we find...leftover folders, binders that can be reused, and horads of pencils in every drawer. When they are all in the same place, they add up!
Its better to wait till at least the first day of school is over--thats when the teacher hands out the dreaded "list" (a yellow protractor... a purple college ruled notebook....a green three ring notebook with no folders inside...etc etc) You never know what quirky request the teacher will make, so wait and don't waste money on stuff that doesn't meet that year's teachers' requirements.
My back-to-school money saving tips:
1. Don't buy back to school fall clothes right now.....either buy them the season before (get them a couple sizes up )or wait till schools are in session... most climates don't start real fall weather till well into the school year, so most summer clothes are fine. Also,kids are fickle--something they liked in August may not be what their freinds are wearing in September...and that can mean lots of wasted dinero for you!
2. Think out of the box: BIG 5 Sporting Goods carries Jansport backpacks--right now on sale for $29.99. The same brand at Tilly's is $49.99. Plus at Big 5 you can use their $10.00 off coupon!
3. Walmart is great for basics: underwear, socks, plain T-Shirts.
4. Buy bathing suits and summer wear NOW. Its all on sale. Kohl's summer stuff was up to 90% (!!!!) off. I got my son 2 pairs of swim trunks for next summer(and whats left of this summer) for 11.00 each. Just buy them a little roomier. T-Shirts, short sleeve shirts, tanks, and shorts are worn well into fall in these parts, so it makes sense to buy them now while they are cheap.
5. Layer---buy the basics now, then add sweaters and long-sleeves later. I do this with my 2 girls, who have birthdays just after school begins. They can buy the sweaters and hoodies and warm stuff then with their birthday money!
6. Don't spent too much on shoes now. Ever notice shoes you buy your growing kids in September don't fit in January? We typically try to make it till December, and then ask for a store card from someone for Christmas and buy shoes with it then. Works for me. My favortie places to buy name-brand quality shoes are those big discount shoe stores (NameBrands, Sketcher's Outlet, Vans Outlet, DSW)I also like checking out Big 5's shoe selction. They often have Adidas and other big brands for really cheap on clearance.
Make it a Great Day!