Use back-to-school shopping to teach kids a lesson
If you think stores are capitalizing on back-to-school shopping, you are right. Stores compete for parents' back-to-school shopping dollar, offering more options and choices than before.

"It can be anything from markers to duct tape to Ziploc bags to wipes for the classroom," says Prosperwell Financial’s Nicole Middendorf, who has two children of her own. "The whole back to school shopping section feels like it is three times the size when I grew up. It’s so much more expensive and there’s so many more things to pick from."

Middendorf suggests three ideas to save on back-to-school shopping.

Buy the school supply shopping package offered by the school

Often school districts or PTOs offer a package of school supplies in the spring or summer that contains everything students need for one low price. The deal is often a fundraiser for a program or PTO.

Buy in bulk

Either stock up on school supplies to last your student throughout the year or consider going in with other parents to cut the cost of supplies.

Shop last year’s supplies first

Often students come home with a bag of unused supplies from the previous school year. Go through those supplies and see what they can use before buying new.

If you do need to pick up a few items, shop as soon as the supplies come out for best price and best selection. Then, don’t be afraid to take your school-aged children with you to turn school supply shopping into a lesson on money.

"What you want to look at is, ‘is this a want or a need? Is this a requirement from school?" says Middendorf. "Sit down with your kids at an early age and have those conversations about what things cost and what happens. Don’t hesitate to share the cost with your kids. It’s a great opportunity to teach them about money and teach them about appreciation."

Shannon Slatton, reporting
on Twitter: @sslatton



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