NerdWallet: 6 creative ways to save more on school supplies

by | Aug 21, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  When Meghan Lakata’s kids return to school from summer break, they’ll have new (to them) clothes and supplies. But thanks to some creative shopping habits, the mother of two isn’t stressed over back-to-school spending.

Lakata, a pre-K teacher in Maryland, uses tools like state sales tax holidays, cash-back apps and buy-nothing groups to keep back-to-school costs down. Bulk purchases help, too. “I have the two kids and there’s a lot of overlap in what they need,” Lakata says. “So if I can get like a big 48-count of pencils, I’m going to do that.” If back-to-school spending forecasts for 2023 are correct, every little bit of savings might help. According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend a record $41.5 billion on back-to-school shopping this year. An additional $94 billion will be spent on back-to-college shopping. Those figures make the back-to-school season the second-largest spending period of the year, after holiday shopping. Here’s how to keep more money in your pocket this season.1. Sales tax holidays Search your state tax administrator’s website to see whether your state is one of several with a tax-free holiday. If so, in-person and online shopping for items like clothing, books, school supplies and electronics during the designated time frame could provide a 4%-7% pad to your budget. “I’m planning on getting the kids a couple of new items they want and school supplies that week,” Lakata said, adding that she’ll save 6% without sales tax. These holidays generally run in July or August. Lakata says this is the time to buy supplies, not only for the tax exemption, but because items are cheaper. “That box of crayons that’s 50 cents in August is going t …

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