Are you ready to start your back-to-school shopping? To save big, the experts say to start early. The NPD Group says that the average consumer made three trips during last year's back-to-school season.
Total back-to-school spending will reach $27.8B or $519 per student (elementary and high-school grades). That's up slightly from $510 in 2018, reports a 2019 Deloitte Back-to-School survey.
By contrast, higher education is more costly. For college students, spending will reach $25.1 billion, or roughly $1,362 per student.
The good news is that just about every retailer has a back-to-school sale that goes on for weeks and more. Online or in-store, you can expect big box stores to offer everyday basics from pens and notebooks to dorm room furnishings, backpacks, computers and other essentials. Mass retailers offer savings upwards of 80 percent off on best sellers.
If you're looking for ways to save money, consider these strategies for your back-to-school shopping.
Buying in bulk is perfect for teachers. Wholesale is a guaranteed way to save money and have cool school supplies that kids love. Usually, too, free shipping is part of the deal when you spend a certain amount online. At Geddes, a wholesaler of bulk supplies, you can spend just $49 and get free shipping.
For non-teachers, buying bulk still makes sense if you want to save. It's especially good if you have a growing family and can share the supplies.
Getting the most bang for your buck matters. Dollar stores are a sensible solution for many. Spending only one dollar (or just a bit more) on each item is a more affordable route for many.
Parents should do an inventory, suggests the National Retail Federation. Look at their children's school supplies and decide what can be reused. This includes clothing, such as school and sports uniforms.
Apps can be a great place to look for discounts. Many times retailers will offer special digital coupons or discounts for their app users.
For instance, Target's Cartwheel app allows you to save from 5 to 20 percent (or more) on back-to-school essentials.
The NPD Group found that 65 percent of U.S. consumers prefer to purchase pre-packaged school supply kits from their child's school or PTA. Top reasons to buy kits include convenience, all-inclusive of school lists and avoiding shopping in stores.
It's worth noting that these kits aren't always cheap. One-third of consumers report spending $100-plus per kit.
Did you know that half of the parents of students who are in kindergarten to eighth grade plan on shopping for tablets? You should look for retailers offering promotions around electronics, such as discounts on cell phone cases or free customization for laptop bags.
There are lots of savings deals out there. Sites such as Gift Card Granny provide a docket of discounts you might not know about. Here are a few others to look into:
Depending on where you live, check the calendar for sales that affect your trading area. Find savings with state-and-local tax-free holidays. Be sure to look for specific sales at that time related to school supplies.
Another so-called "mini-season" for sales occurs shortly after school starts. Peer pressure and all, students want to keep up with what their classmates are wearing. The 2019-2020 school year is when "athleisure" brands will shine. They still comprise the top footwear pick for kids. According to NPD, 80 percent of 2018 kids' footwear back-to-school sales happened in-store in August.
Some of the savvy big box stores also have downloadable lists to make the task easier. Your student will be prepped for class in no time at all when you work off of a list that's done your homework for you.
Find your kid's school or grade and download the supply list to your smartphone or another device. It could help to make your back-to-school shopping seamless and less stressful.