Back-to-school season is here and our teen entered 11th grade and our twins started first grade. According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-age kids spend more than $600 on back-to-school purchases. As a busy wife, mother and small business owner, quality and value is very important to me. Looking for ways to save money is an element that most families share and a little bit of strategy can go a long way in terms of your budget.
1. Breakfast Efficiency
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It’s essential for improving concentration, productivity, healthier body weight, lowering cholesterol and providing energy, especially for students returning back to full day of academics at school. Even with many breakfast choices that can be purchased or made at home, weekday school mornings tends to be so rushed with everyone trying to get out the door on time. Taking time to eat breakfast is imperative for adults and children alike and efficiently managing the morning routine (while still making time to have breakfast) is crucial to the energy needed for the day. Cereal is often the go-to breakfast choice, especially during a busy morning, and America’s No. 1 cereal, Cheerios launched Cheerios Protein, a family friendly way for moms and dads to help their kids start the day on the right foot with 11g of protein when served with milk.
Cheerios Protein offers a smart solution that can fit into a family’s busy schedule and provide long-lasting energy throughout the day. It’s a good source of fiber, contains 13 vitamins and minerals, more than half your daily value of whole grain, and has 11g of protein when served with milk. Two Cheerios Protein flavors are Oats & Honey and Cinnamon Almond, which include toasted “O”’s and crunchy granola clusters. In addition to the protein to help fuel the day, purchasing a box of cereal, milk and fruit is more cost efficient, convenient and healthier than buying various other sugary cereals and/or high in fat breakfast meals (which tend to be more expensive).
Consider these other back-to-school savings tips compiled by nationally recognized consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch:
2. Search Your Home
Once you have a list of school supplies required for your child, search around your home for any usable supplies from the previous year. Collect leftover pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies so you don’t waste money on items you already have. You should also clean out your children’s drawers and closets to get a better idea of their clothing and footwear needs.
3. Shop Second Hand
Considering your children grow out of their clothes and shoes quickly, buying anything at full price is likely a big waste of money. The best way to save on clothes is to buy them second-hand. Visit your local consignment store or check out online shops dedicated to gently used clothing for kids at thredup.com. Tweens and teens may have better luck finding trendy brands at RecycleYourFashions.com or via the Poshmark mobile app. While you’re at it, collect any of your child’s outgrown clothes to sell on these sites for credit toward future purchases.
4. Swap or Trade
Reduce your overall spending by swapping your child’s outgrown clothing and any excess school supplies. Host a swap with friends, family and neighbors with children around the same age, or contact the school PTA to organize a larger event. When it comes to your children’s technology needs, consider trading in old gadgets like smartphones, DVDs, video games and consoles to earn cash towards a new laptop or tablet. Retailers like Walmart, Target and Amazon offer technology trade-in programs, so research each program to see which fits your needs best.
5. Stack Savings
There are plenty of sales and promotions on supplies, clothing and gadgets during the back-to-school shopping rush. With a little extra effort though, you can stretch your dollars even further. Review weekly ads for stores online to see who has the best specials, then search for printable coupons to save more. For instance, you can score an extra $10 off your kids’ apparel purchase of $30 or more from Kohl’s when you print the coupon from CouponSherpa.com, or use their app to access the offer in store. Subscribing to the retailer’s e-newsletter may provide you with a new client coupon to use in store or online as well.
6. Snag Summer Clearance
As retailers clear out summer inventory to make room for fall merchandise, now is a great time to stock up on shorts, short-sleeve tops, dresses and sandals for up to 70-percent off. Since most of these warm-weather garments can be worn during the first several weeks of school, it buys you time to shop for fall and winter goods when the sales begin. If you can, hold off until Black Friday or even after Christmas to score the deepest discounts on cold weather essentials.
7. Scope out Daily Deals
I’ve personally felt daily deal fatigue and generally hit delete before I even get a chance to review the email. However, these sites are full of huge discounts good for back-to-school needs. For instance, Groupon is offering $10 off a $30 gift certificate to Radio Shack for your child’s various tech needs as well as $40 off the Microsoft Office Home & Student package. LivingSocial offers a host of home goods for your dorm-bond college student, from bedding to bath towels to shower caddies for 40 to 60-percent off.
Learn more about Cheerios Protein at http://www.cheerios.com/protein or other breakfast recipe ideas at http://www.cheerios.com/recipes
Follow hashtag #CheeriosProtein
Happy Savings for Back-to-School!