6 Tips on How to Relieve Stress Over Back to School Shopping

The end of August means back-to-school. It means kids are getting back into their routine or—depending on their age—even leaving your home and going back to school.

In many ways this may mean savings for moms and dads because summer spending can be expensive.

In other ways, however, spending might increase because of back to school spending.

In fact, according to a 2019 survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average family household will spend an average of $697 on back-to-school spending.

So, we’ve provided some tips below on how to spend smartly as you prepare to send the kids back to school.

  1. Take stock of what you already have at home:

    First collect all the supplies you already have lying around the house. Perhaps you won’t even need to buy any new supplies!

    Of course, buying new school supplies is exciting for your kids, so be sure to set a budget for the amount they can spend.

    This way you’re not buying anything unnecessary, but your kids also can be excited for their new items for the school year.

  2. Compare Prices Before You Buy:

    Many stores offer price matching if you find the items you’re looking for at a lesser price elsewhere. You can run a quick online search to price shop.

    There are even apps for your smartphone such as ShopSavvy, BuyVia, and MyCartSavings that can assist you with obtaining the best price!

  3. Set Price Alerts:

    If you know you’re going to need to make specific purchases, use online applications to set your price target.

    Websites such as Online Price Alert syncs with Amazon to let you know when a product is within your price range.

  4. For the college student:

    The National Association of College Stores (NACS) writes that the average college student will spend around $655 on textbooks per year.

    The College Board actually estimates this cost to be higher around $1,168. Point is: textbooks are expensive!

    To save money, we’d suggest using websites such as Amazon and Chegg to find both new and used textbooks at a discount. Choosing e-books instead of printed books can be even cheaper.

    For further savings, you may choose to rent textbooks instead of purchase them. Textbooks.com and Campusbooks.com are great resources.

    The College Investor says you can save around 70%-90% on renting textbooks when compared to new books.

  5. What about if your kid plays sports?

    According to the website Coach A&D, “the average annual cost per student was $302 to play sports, $218 for arts (such as music, theater or yearbook) and $124 for clubs.”

    To minimize these costs we’d suggest seeking used items for after-school activities. Start with your child’s league or asking your friends.

    Many will sell these items to you at a discount or even give them to you for free!

    You can also check websites such as the Facebook Marketplace to find locals selling their gently used items or Secondhand Sports Equipment stores.

    For the high school student: have them get an after-school job in the off-season to help pay for after school activities.

    According to a survey taken in 2014 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in four high school students had an after school job. An after school activity can teach time management and responsibility. Depending on the type of job, it may even help develop skills used in a future career.

  6. Share buying in bulk:

    We’ve all heard that buying in bulk at places like Costco or Sam’s Club can help save money, but this only works if you actually need that many items.

    For families with a lot of children, buying in bulk may pay off, but what if you only have one or two kids?

    You may want to ask friends and classmates if they’d like to split the cost and supplies bought in bulk so that you too can take advantage of these deals.


The new school year can certainly be stressful, but no need to make money the root of your stress. If you need any further advice when it comes to budgeting, creating savings accounts for your children, college savings programs such as 529 plans, and paying for college, financial aid, and/or student loans, please reach out!

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Written by Magdalena Johndrow

Magdalena “Maggie” Johndrow’s financial calling began with degrees from Providence College and the London School of Economics, followed by a career at prominent banks on Wall Street: Barclays and JP Morgan, where she worked with high-net worth individuals and institution clients.

While working on Wall Street, Maggie recognized traditional wealth advisors were ignoring entire groups of people, particularly women and Millennials. Maggie seized the opportunity to join Johndrow Wealth’s women-owned firm and apply her skills, revolutionizing the firm’s outreach to women and young professionals



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