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School supply shopping: is it too early?

School supply shopping: is it too early?
School supply shopping: is it too early?
Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Is it too early to start shopping for back-to-school supplies? If you want to get the best prices, the answer is no. Although summer isn’t finished and your kids might still be enjoying the lazy days of summer, it isn’t too early to plan for the money involved with going back-to-school.

Here are some of the easiest ways that you can save money on back-to-school supplies while it’s still summertime.

Plan early for back-to-school
Just like cramming for a test isn’t the best way to prepare for an exam, waiting until the last minute isn’t the best way to score great deals on back-to-school supplies. This is the time to plan for all the supplies your child will need for the entire year. At no other time will prices be so low, so if you’re on a tight budget, it’s the time to stock up on anything your child will need, whether it’s notebooks, pens, ink cartridges or colored pencils.

Shop with a plan
Have you asked for a list of back-to-school supplies from your child’s school? If not, you’ll have a general idea of what your child needs, but you may be making some assumptions. For example, if your child is taking Algebra, you may think that any calculator will be fine when in reality, a very specific model is needed. If your child is in elementary school, your child may need glue sticks instead of liquid glue. Knowing what’s required will save you time and the inconvenience of making returns for unneeded items.

School clothes: to shop or not to shop?
Back-to-school ads will include clothing and shoes, but pause to consider what your child truly needs for the transition of summer to fall. Some of the clothing worn during summer, along with a few purchases, may be enough for this time. Consider what your child will really need before purchasing his or her new wardrobe.

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