Top Ten Ways to Save Money During Back To School Season

Back to School Season can be brutally expensive, but there’s no need to go wildly in debt over smart, fresh, backpacks and new jeans. So, here are my thoughts on ways to save money during back to school season.


Think you can’t save money during the Back to School Season? Think again.

Saving all your hard earned dollars in September can seem like an impossible feat. But, I am here to tell you it can be done. Do not take out a second mortgage to pay for the latest merchandise. Take these tips to heart and reuse some of what you already have.

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How to Save Money During Back to School Season

1. Recycle what you can.

Last year my daughter’s backpack wasn’t in bad shape, so we recycled it for another year. She didn’t mind at all and we got two years wear and tear out of a $18 High School Musical Backpack she loved.

2. Pick up dollar store items.

Their pencils and pencil cases are often very good. Pens, erasers, small notebooks can be cheaper sometimes, but not always. Know your prices and stay on top of the flyers. This can be one of the easiest ways to save money during back to school season.

3. Comparison shop.

2009 Back to School

The September Staples flyer and the Walmart flyer often feature really hot deals like crayons for 25 cents or 50 cents. That’s way better than the dollar store –  if you time the sale right.

4. Show restraint and stay within budget.

They don’t need everything they ask for. If the running shoes aren’t worn out from summer, then reuse them. Don’t buy new, just because it’s September and they want new kicks that light up or are Champion brand, Nike, or Adidas. Chances are they’ll outgrow their runners by Christmas again anyways.

5. Invest in a couple of smart items that will last.

My daughter’s lunchbag isn’t negotiable. She is on a balanced day which means she has two short nutrition breaks for lunches. Only the balanced day lunch kit works for that. Otherwise she eats all her food during the first break and I get a call at work or home half way through the day. The interruption to my day costs us money. So for that purpose I pay more for lunch bags.

6. Don’t be a snob about hand-me-downs.

If your friends, neighbours and relatives buy your child something for back to school or hand it down be sure to thank them. Even used clothing is new to your child. Plus kids are hard on clothing often and they grow fast. SO, save your money for experiences not things.

7. Stick to a list.

You will need two or three pairs of good jeans that fit. One outfit is enough for gym, unless they have gym every day and then you need two. Of course your child needs a seasonal jacket and then a winter coat. They need one pair of kid’s sneakers or running shoes that fit well and one pair indoor shoes that stay at school and are clearly labelled. You may want to buy one pair of boots for the rain, and of course make sure you have a cheap umbrella. Perhaps, they need one pair of dressier shoes for pictures and for dressier days. Girls may need dress shoes.

Make sure they have one or two t-shirts, one long sleeve shirt and one comfortable pair of leggings (buy them a size up. Nobody notices that with leggings or tights. They last longer. Underwear and socks should carry over season to season. (as should most t-shirts and long sleeve shirts.)

8. Labels.

There are numerous brands, but I love Mabel’s Labels and all my children’s stuff gets a label. Actually I start that process now and sure enough everything comes back to us or, at the very least when it is left at school, I can find it by the name in the lost and found box. Hats, scarves and mits always go missing – label them.

9. Don’t fall prey to the latest character-driven products.

They are too trendy and last only a short time. They are cute and hard to resist. But a colourful Children’s Place Messenger Bag will probably last longer than one emblazoned with Wizards of Waverley Place or Hannah Montana. I love Disney. But kids are fickle and your child will end up the only one in grade four with HM and nobody wants that.

10. Use your points. 

Back to School shopping can be brutally expensive, so cash in the Sears points of the Optimum points, even Airmiles and get your stuff free. No better deal than that!

Post may contain affiliate links as a service to my readers.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Laura

    I find I go through a lot of lunch bags. Once there is a liquid leak, especially milk, they get smelly. They all seem to be insulated cloth. Anyone ever find the old-fashioned metal ones? I am starting to see the wisdom of them. Also wondering if I dare to put the stinky cloth ones in the washing machine. Where do you get yours?

  • Printable Coupons

    Great tips. I’ve been doing these as well. It’s amazing how many things you really don’t need that are already around the house. Don’t forget the list. Use coupons too.. and your kids look adorable by the way.. 🙂

  • Azza

    I live in the Philippines. Every summer almost every product in the supermarket has a free school stuff (notebook, pencil, erasers, lunch box, water tumbler, etc.) If we like the product then we’ll buy it along to get the freebie. We only buy what is needed, like if his shoes and uniforms are really small for him. Bags are reused too. It will also help to teach our kids the value of money. My son will not insist buying anything that is too expensive for me.