White Hall Progress logo

Reducing back to school costs


As living costs are rising, everyone is feeling the effect on their monthly budget.

Family Service Agency Consumer Credit Counseling Service suggests the following tips for saving money when getting your kids ready to go back to school.

Get list of supplies needed from school – Contact your children’s teachers and find out what they absolutely must have for the first two or three weeks of school. If you can put part of it off you may be able to find the items needed when the stores have clearance sales to reduce inventory.

Inventory supplies and clothing – You may find items remaining from last year that can be used this year.

Create a budget and shopping list with children – If you get your children involved they may be very helpful if there are particular items they would like. Just tell them that if enough money is saved buying the other supplies or clothing the desired items might be within the budget. This also gives you an opportunity to teach your kids about budgeting.

Comparison shop newspapers and online – Don’t drive from store to store looking for better prices. Save your gas and find the best deals in newspaper ads or online. Then map out your shopping trip to avoid backtracking which wastes time and money. Look for coupons and use them.

Clothing clearance items, sales, second hand stores and yard/garage sales – Most stores have a particular day they put out the items they need to clear out of their inventory. Ask at the stores where you will be shopping what day that it and show up when they open on clearance day. Again check for sales. Sometimes you can find clothing the kids will like (and wear) at second hand stores or yard/garage sales. Check with friends or relatives with older children to see if any of their clothes will work. Take a look at online stores sometimes they have deals as well.

Search for used textbooks – If you need to purchase textbooks for your kids don’t immediately buy them brand new. Used textbooks can be found sometimes from the school, or friends and relatives. Also check online as there are stores that will sell them at lower cost, just remember to include the cost (to you) for shipping as that can make a huge difference in the price.

Use the Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday August 3 and 4- The Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday August 3rd and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday August 4th. Virtually all the items purchased for school will be taxed at the full 8% tax rate, using the tax holiday can save you $8 for every $100 of purchases. The State of Arkansas Deparment of Finance and Administration has the items included during the tax holiday on their website at http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/exciseTax/salesanduse/Pages/taxHoliday.aspx