Thanks to inflation, many parents are expecting to spend an average of $661 dollars per child on back-to-school shopping – a 27% increase from 2019.1 If you’re a parent or a student yourself, you may be wondering how to minimize the cost of the pencils, notebooks, and binders needed to thrive in the classroom. Below are seven effective methods to enlist so you can focus on the school year ahead.
7 tips for affordable back-to-school shopping
1. Take advantage of tax-free holidays
During a tax-free holiday, you can purchase qualifying items with no sales tax included in the transaction. This year’s Tax-Free Weekend in Ohio is August 5th through August 8th. Shop in categories like clothes, school supplies, and instructional materials. Exemptions apply, so be sure to review the Tax-Free Weekend FAQ list.
2. Get thrifty
The Cincinnati area has a wealth of thrift stores with gently used clothing and bags perfect for back to school! Explore the racks for unique pieces and save on your shopping list. Kids will have fun picking through options from different decades (including styles from today!).
3. Watch your favorite stores
Follow your favorite stores on social media or download their app so you know when back to school deals are hitting their sales floor. Being the first to know gives you better access to options from a range of price points. Plus, you may be able to avoid the stampede of last-minute shoppers if you plan to go in person.
4. Swipe with confidence
Your everyday purchases can help you earn gift cards and cash back that can be used for school supply shopping both now and in the future. How? By using your credit card at checkout! Whether you go shopping in person or online, you can make things easier on the future you by racking up rewards. With any luck, you may have enough to cover those last-minute poster boards needed for a presentation, er…tomorrow.
- Tip: Add your credit card to a digital wallet for an even faster way to buy! The card doesn’t have to be physically on you, and your information is encrypted to protect you from data breaches.
4. Look through your closets
Before you shop, look around your house to see what items you already have. You may discover writing materials, binders, and notebooks hidden away in random pockets of your home that can be used for future studies.
6. Utilize free resources
The Cincinnati Public Library has a variety of resources to use throughout the school year, including:
- Free meals. The Library partnered with UMC Food Ministry to provide youth meal boxes at select library locations.
- Homework help. Could your teen use some help with homework? Take them to select library locations for free, one-on-one homework help in subjects like reading, math, and more!
- Laptop kiosks. Don’t have a laptop? No problem, select library locations have a Library Kiosk where members can check out and return laptops. Borrow one at a time for up to two hours for use in the library.
You don’t have to drop a pretty penny on back-to-school shopping. Use the tips above to prepare either yourself or your kids for an awesome year of learning! They, combined with a low-rate credit card from General Electric Credit Union (GECU), will help you get the most out of purchases. Apply for a credit card online today or schedule an appointment at your local branch to discuss the options in more detail. Together, we’ll find your perfect match.