Back to School on a Shoe String Budget

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According to Dr. Stephen Jones, parents can save thousands of dollars by mapping out a back to school shoe string budget. Annually the cost of going back to school continues to rise. Supplying one child for a K12 school or college can cost between $ 300- $ 1000. In fact one Villanova University student recently said a book he purchased cost $ 200. While this may not be the norm it is cause for alarm for parents who have several children in school. Parents must make difficult choices regarding the quality of materials their children will use to present term papers and projects that are due during the school year. Often parents get so busy during the summer that they fail to plan a school supply budget and they end up running around from store to store trying to reduce the cost of book bags, calculators, text books, computers and etc.

It is clear that the retail stores are doing their research and they know that parents will flood the stores around the third week of August. Most parents would prefer to go to one store to get all of their supplies but they look in the papers and discover that the prices vary from store to store. Dr. Jones says that parents can save hundreds of dollars by making wise purchases. Here's how parents can save hundreds of dollars:

1. Do not shop at the last minute right before school is about to start.

2. Identify a discount school supply store so that you do not end up shopping at the local corner store.

3. Check the internet for sales at websites such as overstock.com. Get together with friends and buy some things in bulk.

4. Do not be afraid to buy some clothing at a thrift store. You can save hundreds of dollars.

5. Check your supplies from last year before you go out to buy new supplies. You will reduce the opportunities that you are purchasing items that you have stored from last year.

6. Ask your local school where they order their supplies from and contact the store for a catalog or website.

7. Consider purchasing certain items at the Dollar Store near you.

8. Purchase books at discount websites that are on the internet

It's amazing that some parents are willing to spend more money because they are unwilling to invest time to forget savings. The hundreds of dollars that are saved can help with the purchase of a new computer and printer. Do not cave in to the temptation to putting your purchases on a credit card. The credit card debts that parents obtain at the beginning of the school year can last until the next summer if a parent is not cautious. Parents who are shopping on a shoe string budget recognize that credit cards are potholes that will take you thousands of dollars off track.

Mobilize family and friends who can keep an eye out for special school supply sales. Parents can use a number of methods to stay in touch. First consider using the cell phone to create a list of people who will be looking out for certain supplies that you have identified. Also, friends and family can contact you immediately when they discover a good sale. Parents can give friends and family money in advance or ask them to pay for it and agree to pay them back. Using e-mail can also be a good method to share websites that offer the products at prices that are not available at the stores. The links to website can be put right within the text of the e-mail, which makes it easy for a parent to make a purchase right away.

You should also purchase a copy of Dr. Stephen Jones' book "Seven Secrets of How to Study (sevensecrets-books.com)." Dr. Jones is available at stephenjoness@rcn.com and my cell phone number is 610-842-3843.