Back-to-school shopping is quite a daunting task and it can get pretty expensive for many parents. The children want all of the fancy, new and character-covered school products on the market and many parents feel compelled to spend a lot of their hard-earned cash on said school supplies. So what’s a parent to do when they finally get tired of spending a small fortune on school supplies? They get THRIFTY!

Being thrifty does not mean that you don’t supply the things that your child will need for school. It simply means that you have to find a cheaper way to do so. defines thrifty as “1. practicing thrift or economical management; frugal 2. thriving, prosperous, successful.” So following along those same lines, being thrifty is a goal that everyone should aspire to reach, especially in the matter of back-to-school shopping. Here are a few tips on how to be thrifty during your back-to-school shopping.

Shop back-to-school sales

Shopping during the back-to-school sales is one of the very best ways to be thrifty during this time of year. Most of your local stores will have sales on school supplies around the week before the local schools start their new year. During these sales you will be able to find great discounts on all your child’s school supplies. It is also recommended that you stock-up on the school supplies that you know will be used throughout the entire school year—notebook paper, pencils, crayons, glue, etc.

Shop eBay

Clothing and bookbags are some of the most expensive items on every parent’s back-to-school shopping list. One of the easiest ways to be thrifty when it comes to these items is to shop on the popular auction site On eBay you can find a gigantic selection of back-to-school clothing, bookbags, shoes and accessories, with the majority of the items ranging from good condition to brand new items that still have the store tags on them. Just make sure that you shop early so that the items will arrive before your child starts school.

Shop without your child

We all know that it is easier to spend less money on school supplies if you shop alone. You can go into the store with your list of necessary items and speed right through the list with ease. But, if you take your child along on the back-to-school shopping trip for school supplies, it is far too easy to spend a lot more money than you initially intended. The kids start grabbing and begging, you get flustered and annoyed, the child starts insisting that these items will be necessary during the school year. Does this sound familiar? If so, then try getting the supplies shopping done while you are alone. Most schools will have supply lists so just take that along with you and get what your child needs. No begging, no frustration, no unnecessary supplies and a lot less money will be spent during your time in the stores.

Forgo the fancy and character items

Everyone has seen them and children love them—school items with cartoon, movie and television characters on them. All you have to do is look around and you will see these items everywhere. One child is wearing a bookbag with a certain square sea creature on it while the other is carrying a lunchbox with a particular transforming robot all over it. Items like these are created to pull your child in and to hook you into buying them for said child. If you want to save money during your back-to-school shopping then it is highly suggested that you forgo any of the fancy and character covered items. This is another good reason to shop without your child, as stated in the section above.

Off-brand doesn’t have to mean off style

Some of you may be just the right age to have been children when all of the Lisa Frank products started showing up on store shelves. Back then, Lisa Frank was considered an “off-brand” item. They were colorful and little girls loved them. Thankfully, they were pretty cheap back then and parents could afford to purchase them for their children. The girls who loved them in the beginning are now parents to little girls of today and Lisa Frank items are now higher priced and considered more of an extra for back-to-school shopping. This is just one example of how an off-brand item can become a mainstream, popular and stylish product. How does this play into the being thrifty theme? Well, it is to show you that you don’t have to spend a fortune on name brand school supplies in order for your child to have stylish, fun and productive school products. The off-brand items cost less than the name brand so always check them out when you are doing your child’s school shopping. The next time you see an off-brand product that is much cheaper than its name brand counterpart, then why not try it out? It might just save you some money.

In the end, if you would like to be thrifty during your child’s back-to-school shopping, you just have to pay close attention to what you are spending your money on. No child NEEDS $200 dollars worth of school supplies and if you have more than one child you will really run into a lot of money. Be sensible, be smart and be THRIFTY!

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