The Smart Shopper: Back to School

Thursday, August 02 at 02:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Alas, August is here and the lazy days of summer are approaching a remorseful end. Sleeping late, lounging around the house, sitting by the pool and impromptu play dates will soon be a fond memory. But these changes can cause stress for both children and parents. Before embarking on this year's back-to-school experience, take these tips into consideration.

Back-to-School Shopping

Don’t forget the list.  Avoid buying items your child doesn’t need by making sure you have the school supplies list handy when you hit the stores.  Also, before you go shopping, take inventory of the items that your child already has and mark those of the list so you don’t end up with double.

Look for state "tax free holidays".   These are often held in the slow retail days of summer, to save on clothing, electronics and supplies.  Here are the upcoming tax-free days in our communities:

  • Oklahoma:  August 3-5
  • Arkansas:  August 4-5
  • Missouri:  August 3-5

Hold a swap party with friends and neighbors.  Last year's barely used supplies or lightly worn clothes in your closet may be brand new and exciting for someone else.

Check out consignment shops.  Sell last year's stuff; get a bargain on this year's stuff.

Use credit cards with reward incentives. If enrolled in Arvest Rewards, using your Arvest Credit Card will help you rack up points to spend later.  Or, if you already have points, you can cash those in for gift cards to places like Staples or Walmart to help pay for school supplies. 

  • Special Offer: Now through the end of September 2012, you can receive 5,000 bonus Reward Points plus your first year of membership for free with your new Arvest Credit Card.  Click here to learn more and apply.

Stock up on basics for the whole year. Paper, pencils, glue sticks, folders, etc. Grab extras when they're on sale and stash them away for later in the school year when supplies run low or items need refreshing.

Leave the kids at home.  Pick out some fun items that your kid would love to pick out, like their backpack or lunchbox.  Take them shopping to get those.  However, leave them at home when you go to buy the basics like paper, pencils, markers, etc.  By doing this, you won’t be persuaded into buying the more expensive options or items that your child doesn’t need. 

  • Extra tip:  Give your kids their school supplies as a surprise gift.  Kids love surprises and presents of any kind, and they’ll love going through everything you bought them.  This way, you don’t take all of the excitement away.

With a little advance planning, some creativity and smart shopping, buying school supplies won’t be as painful to your budget as you had imagined.

We hope everyone enjoys these last days of summer and has a great school year ahead!

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Rewards, Credit Cards, Financial Education, Missouri, Oklahoma, Savings
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