NerdWallet: It takes a village to save on school supplies—4 more ways to lower costs

by | Aug 15, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  It’s that time again: back to school, back to spending so much money on supplies. And this year, families will have to shell out even more than usual because of inflation. Thankfully, you can still save money on supplies and other gear by leaning on local parents, neighbors and community members. Here’s how.

Read: ‘I’m thankful for the dollar store’: Parents are stressed out shopping for clothes during back-to-school season, and struggle with record-high inflationBuy in bulk, then split costs You know who else is buying the same supplies you need? The parents of your kid’s classmates. So join forces. Buy certain supplies in bulk if the cost per unit is less than that of a smaller pack. Then split those supplies among other caregivers, so each person pays less than if they had gone solo. Buying in bulk is a smart strategy for more general items typically found on classroom lists. These could include facial tissues, disinfecting wipes, plastic storage bags, paper towels and sanitizers, says Charles Field, CEO of TeacherLists, a digital platform that enables teachers to upload supply lists, which retailers and parents can access. Say your kid is supposed to bring hand sanitizer. One 12-ounce bottle could cost $16. But buy a four-pack for $36, and four people could each spend $9 per bottle. Also try this method for harder-to-get and more expensive items, says Maggie Klokkenga, a Morton, Illinois-based certified financial planner and owner of Make a Money Mindshift, through which she coaches clients on their cash flow. Say that fine-tipped dry-erase markers are tough to find. Rather than multiple parents searching empty shelves and paying a premium — collaborate. Klokkenga, a parent of three school-age kids, has tips for coordinating to save on supplies. “It does require some behind-the-scenes organizing,” she says. First, keep the number of people involved to under 10, she suggests, “before it gets a little hairy.” Gauge interest before proceeding. Next, compare prices on those items you want to split. Amazon is a safe bet for everyday essentials, she says, but office supply stores can be promising for large orders of classroom-specific items. Finally, tell parents how much the cost will be per person and request that payment. Buy the products only after everyone has paid. After purchasing the items, arrange a pickup.Reach out to community organizations Don’t want to coordinate that kind of effort? Klokkenga suggests tapping existing groups. Call your public library, loca …

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