Back-to-school - How can you shop successfully and send smart kids?

This is perhaps the busiest time for both parents and kids. Summer vacations are almost over and kids are all set to go back to schools. This means last minute shopping is in full swing with retailers offering attractive discounts to consumers. Parents being confronted with high spending expectations from kids and schools, it's not surprising to see consumers rushing to discount retailers such as Target and Walmart in the hope of saving some dollars. Although some of the well renowned websites such as Amazon may offer necessary goods at an affordable price, but they aren't smartest buys always. Here are some of the smart options parents may consider before heading to back-to-school shopping.

1. Recycle and re-use for a better environment: It's quiet easy to forget about preserving environment when you've to buy loads of notebooks for every subject. But, you can potentially save lots of money by going green.

Instead of buying new notebooks, try to use old and unused ones. Have a look at what you already have in your house. Find out if there is any partially used notebook. If yes, then you can just change the binders and folders so that your kids can reuse them. You can also sharpen old pencils and give a new life to dried-out markers by adding alcohol.

Your neighbors must have their own children. Connect with your neighbors and ask them to swap backpacks, clothes and electronic goods with you. This can help both of you to use products and save money at the same time.

If you need to buy a calculator for your children, then visit eBay before heading to the retailer. You might get a last year graduate's calculator at half price from there.

2. Buy products of local companies for kids: As per a recent survey, it has been found that every $100 spent on items produced by local companies help to contribute around $58 to the local economy. If you spend the same amount on a product from a chain store, then only $33 will be contributed to the local economy. This means, you can have a better local economy, schools, roads, etc, by buying goods from local companies. The amount you spend at local business will be used to develop your community only.

In the past few years, school districts are facing a lot of problems. Budgets are getting tighter and school districts are facing severe financial crisis. As the schools have small budget for communal supplies such as printer ink, tissues, papers, etc, so these kind of expenses are passed down to parents usually in the form of long lists.

Truth be told, if parents really want to save themselves from getting a big financial jolt, then it's high time they start buying from local business. This would help to generate more revenue for the local community and this includes schools. This would in return help parents to reduce back-to-school expenses.

3. Use your brain instead of your heart: Children love superhero notebooks, pencils, backpacks and what not. They would demand for those items. If you resist, then they would blackmail you emotionally to get these objects. They would argue that all students are using backpacks with headphone, so why not them? You have to logically explain them why it is not possible to buy that type of backpack. Help them to understand the concept of priorities, needs and wants. Children are your biggest weakness. Don't let them to misuse that. You'll only invite bigger troubles in future.

Final thoughts

In the rush to prepare everything before the school re-opens, you may forget to take your kids to the shopping trip. But this is a wrong decision since they can help you make a fair decision. Besides, they get a chance to give vital money lessons to kids. For example, parents can teach them how to buy necessary goodies within budget. Certainly, a kindergartner won't be that much interested. However, a high school student would understand the concept of coupons, differentiating between generic and branded goods, comparison shopping, etc. This would help parents to prepare kids for a better financial future.

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