How to save money on back-to-school shopping: The one savings secret you need

This post was written by our friends at VarageSale, a fun and safe way to buy, sell and connect with real people in your neighborhood.

Hold on to your wallets! It’s that time of year again. Welcome to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. While moms and dads are daydreaming about the return of school (and their sanity), there’s one heavy cloud of stress hanging over those dreams. The back-to-school spending, er, shopping season has arrived.

It’s reported that the average family spent $630 on back-to-school shopping in 2015, and spending is predicted to increase in 2016. If we multiply that average over the course of kindergarten to grade 12, that’s $8,820!

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t just drain your wallet; it eats up time too. Pokemon backpacks, Frozen pencil cases — as you drive around in hot pursuit of the last remaining green binder with two pockets and three prongs in town, it can start to feel like you’re competing in a scavenger hunt.

But what if you could avoid the madness? What if there was a way to shop from home, secure items in advance, and save oodles of money? That’s where we come in. Here’s how to get serious bang for your buck:

Take stock

Before you even look at a single flyer or website, go through your drawers and cupboards to take inventory of leftover school supplies from last year. There’s no point in replenishing stuff that you already have on hand.

Know where to look (VarageSale, obvs)

With back-to-school items priced at up to 90% off the retail price, you can save as much as $567 annually when you shop on VarageSale. Nikki, a mom of four from one of our New Orleans communities, was able to do all her school shopping for only $32 total! That included every item on her kid’s supply lists and brand-new backpacks.

Stretch those back-to-school savings across your child’s school years from kindergarten to grade 12, and you can pocket an extra $7,938. Take that, retail prices!

Keep your eyes peeled on categories

Smart buyers know that following categories is where it’s at. When you follow a category on VarageSale, you get notified whenever a new listing goes up. By staying in the know about the latest items posted, you can be sure to move quickly on a great deal. (If you’re really keen, you could even follow the next size up in kid’s clothing.) Put categories like Kid’s Clothing and School Supplies on your must-watch list.

Buy ahead for the year now

Make your life a little easier by picking up items well in advance. This is key when it comes to big-ticket investments like a graphing calculator, sports equipment, or a warm coat for when the weather suddenly turns crisp. If you see cheap prices on everyday items like pencil crayons, glue, and notebooks, grab them as extras for your supply cupboard at home. That way, you have back-ups for anything that gets worn out, lost, or buried at the bottom of a messy locker.

Like all things parenting, back-to-school shopping is a lot of work, but being prepared will keep everyone happy. As we round the corner of summer vacation toward a new year, let us lighten that load without lightening your purse!

Don’t forget to enter VarageSale’s contest for your chance to win one of two $500 prizes or a Macbook Air!