As summer winds down and the first day of school approaches, the need to re-up on school supplies also draws near.  If you are anything like me, the idea of back to school shopping is about as appealing as pulling your bottom lip over your head! 

            So, if you have to brave the elements and face schools’ version of Black Friday, then here are a few tips to make the experience a little more economical, and dare I say, less cumbersome.


  1. Shop for supplies throughout the year.  Building up a supply of pens and pencils for example.  This way, you will have a surplus and fewer items to scour for during the back to school shopping carnage.

  2. Try to buy as many things as possible at the $1 stores.  Junior may complain that his Jansport book bag isn’t sold there, but it’s ok, he will live.

  3. Use items you already have.  Last year, my daughters’ list included a graphing calculator.  I didn’t want to pay $100 for a new one, so they used my TI-85 model from 1990.  I saved money, was able to laugh at their reaction to such a “hideous” calculator, and they did well in their respective math courses.

  4.  Stick to your list.  Back to school shopping can be a lot like grocery shopping on an empty stomach.  You had a few items on your list, but before you know it, your cart is full.  You will definitely save money by staying disciplined.

  5. Stick to the summer sales.  Similar to sticking to your list, buying as many items as possible on sale will help your bottom line.

  6. Refrain from name brands.  This brings me back to Jansport.  Does your/my child really need a $50-70 book bag?  It carries…ummm....books.  We all want our kids to look nice and feel included in the latest and greatest, but I would recommend just sticking to the basics.  If you really feel the need and budget to splurge, then nice clothing should do the trick.

  7. Leave the kids at home!  Our kids are experts at applying “peer pressure,” so leave them at home.  Don’t give them a chance to catch you at a weak moment.  All you need is the list, focus, and some discipline.  You will return home, proud of yourself.

The beginning of school is also a great time to think about starting or contributing to an existing college 529 plan. If you don’t have one and would like to know more or would like to discuss your current plan, please contact me.

 I can be reached on my website and email jamin@jdishonfinancial.  Thank you, and happy back to school shopping!