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Back to School Savings - $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge

 back to school savings
Looking for back to school deals to alleviate the stress on your wallet? When it comes to getting a good discount, back to school supplies are not exempt. Read on to find out how you can discount school supply purchases this year.

Back-to-school season often leaves us with mixed feelings. Sad that summer is over. Happy that summer is over. Most of all, though, it can leave us anxious as we consider how much of a blow school supplies will be on our bank accounts. Lucky for you, I am here to help you. Here are some easy ways that you can save money on all of your kids back to school supplies this year.

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Brown Bag It

Instead of spending money each day on a school lunch, plan out a week's worth of nutritious, budget-friendly meals to prepare at home and send with your children each day. You not only save money, but you are providing your children with a meal in which all of the ingredients were selected by you. So you don't have to worry about them eating anything you don�t approve of.

Here are some tips on things that you can do to save money on your kid's lunches:
  • Buy your meat in bulk and then cook it and cut it yourself rather than buying precooked and precut meat.
  • Freeze whatever foods you can. Not just meat, but bread, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and more. This way you can stock up on sales products without worrying about whether or not they will go bad in the fridge.
  • Cook extra food for dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch.
  • Don't buy single serve items.. Buy in bulk and then separate them yourself. Instead of buying jello pudding cups, make a full batch of pudding and divide it up yourself. When it comes to yogurt, canned fruit, applesauce, and other snack foods, buy the family size and then separate it into individual servings. Instead of buying juice boxes, buy full containers of juice and use water bottles to make individual servings.

Reuse Supplies

Before you make a trip to Wal-Mart to buy school supplies, shop at home first. This might be the best source of back-to-school deals because it is free. Go through your home first to see if you can round up any supplies that you have laying around from school years past. If they are still in good condition there is no need to buy more. Here's a list of some things that you can reuse:
  • Graph paper- A great way to save money on this when you are running out is simply to make copies.
  • Folders � buy sturdy ones that will last
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Pencil cases
  • Backpacks � buy a sturdy one that will last
  • Calculator
  • Ruler
  • Protractor

Buy in Bulk During Sales

School supply lists are typically only meant to get kids started. More than likely you will have to buy replacements of certain items throughout the school year (i.e. pencils, notebooks, paper) so take advantage of back to school deals by stocking up on these items when the price is right rather than waiting for when your kids inevitably come to you saying that they need more of something.

Shop Around

One great thing about back to school season is that the competition between stores to draw in customers by offering the best prices will work in your favor. You might have a favorite store, but that doesn't mean that you have to shop there for everything. Check out the circulars for different stores in your area and keep a look out for their back to school deals. Shop where the back to school deals are the best. You can also see if any of the stores have a policy where they match the prices of other stores. If so, take advantage of that. That way you can save money on the products and save money on gas.

Shop on Tax-Free Holidays

Check to see if your state offers tax-free holidays during back-to-school season. If so, you could save up to 10% just by shopping on one of those days.

Only Buy What Your Child Will Use

This one seems to be pretty common sense, but a lot of parents get talked into buying extra things or the more expensive things by their children who proclaim that "everyone else will have on, mom!". If you have children who frequently ask for non-essential items, head them off beforehand. Perhaps give them an allowance for good behavior and let them use their earnings to make those purchases. Or allow them to get one non-essential item when you go out to do your shopping and give them a price limit. Or you could show tough love by outright refusing to buy anything not on the list (a great money management practice). This will cut down on needless overspending.

Get Clothes During End-of-Summer Sales

Just because clothes are worn during the summer does not mean that they can't be worn throughout the rest of the year. Stock up on deeply discounted clothes during end-of-summer sales. Even the shorts can be worn well into the autumn, and polo shirts can be worn anytime - especially when you master the art of layering during the cold, winter months.

Host a Back-to-School Clothes Swap

Post fliers advertising a back-to-school clothes swap. That way all you moms can gather together and swap out old clothes and get "new" clothes for your kids. You can even trade toys and books while you�re at it. T's a great way to save money and clear out some things that are taking up space around the house.

Buy Secondhand

Between Craigslist, garage/yard sales, consignment sales, and friends/family, you have plenty of opportunities to buy gently used, quality clothes for your kids. My motto is "why pay full price when you can get a deal?". Note: all of these methods are always great ways that you can make money. Kill two birds with one stone? Why, yes...I think I will.

Buy quality

You may think that the best thing is to buy the cheapest items available, regardless of the quality. However, dong this might result in you having to spend more money in the long run as you buy new items when they end up breaking or running out quickly. Choose things that have lifetime warranties and that are durable, yet affordable. One great example is when choosing a backpack. That one purchase can last your child several years if you choose a durable one that is a bit more expensive than the cheap ones that may not even last one full school year before it needs replacing.

Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on back to school savings? Next week we'll talk about Save Money on Your Kids.

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How Much Will These Frugal Back to School Savings Save You?

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