Five Clever Ways to Save on Back-to-School

clever ways to save on back to school


It was weird to see so many first day of school pictures online this morning, but kids around here go back to school this week. Every time I think about this time of the year, I feel a little sick. Not only does it mean my summer break is over, but it also reminds me of the stress and expense of that enormous shopping list. Even though our school supply list is now minimal, I thought I would share some clever ideas for school savings that I’ve discovered along the way.


  1. If your child wears basic uniform attire that you don’t need to purchase from a specific store, try to hold off from buying too much right now. A lot of stores are going to have uniform items on sale a couple of weeks after school starts, and you’ll be able to stock up for the rest of the year. Pick up a size larger too if your child is growing like a weed. You’ll be glad you did when you need it and have to pay full price later in the year.
  2. Make a list and check prices and availability across a variety of stores. Get your friends involved and share information with them. If you grab the class supply list and three friends, you can each price check one store and compare. Now you are all getting the best deals.
  3. Don’t forget about quality. You are not really saving money if you buy the 5 cent folders that rip to shreds after the first week of school. The same is true for polo shirts that pill or get holes. Don’t go overboard though. My son used to manage to get holes in the knees of pants even though I got him the good Lands End pants with iron knees. Eventually, I just made him wear shorts. Also, I decided not to spend $35 on those pants when he tore them up at the same rate as a less expensive pair.
  4. Look for coupon savings available through apps like Ibotta or Target Cartwheel in addition to the store’s advertised sales.
  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If last year’s clothes, shoes, or gear still fits, God bless you. Make use of those things at the start of school and look into getting something new when back-to-school goes on sale. A new backpack also makes a good birthday or Christmas gift.


Bonus Savings Tip: Stay at home. I used to dread back-to-school time. New backpacks, uniforms, sneakers, lunch boxes, loads of expensive school supplies, deposits on back-to-school activities, soccer shoes, tap shoes, ballet shoes, jazz shoes, soccer uniforms, and leotards. Back-to-school could easily run over $1000 for two kids. Plus, the stress of needing to find that exact pencil case or risk being chastised by the teacher. None of that. We are starting our homeschool year next week, and back-to-school has cost me less than $50. I buy things through the year when they are on sale, find a lot of free material online, and choose products that we can use for a long time. I’ve learned to be a lot more efficient over time. I’m not really suggesting that you homeschool just to save money, but it is just one of the many benefits.

Games That Teach Money Management

games that teach money management

Teaching finance and money management skills does not have to be boring. Games are a great way to teach these skills to children of all ages while having fun. Kids will have fun playing the games and may not even realize they are learning valuable life lessons. There are some great board games that are good for a whole family or group of kids to play together as well as online games for individual play. **This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links.

Board Games

Cash Flow 101 was created for teenagers, but kids as young as six years old can play with a parent or teacher. Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, created this game to teach kids about personal finance, investment, and money management. This game includes more advanced topics such as financial statements, understanding assets and liabilities, and personal accounting.

The Game of Life was created over 150 years ago and is available as a board game or video game. Kids as young as six years old can play the game with a parent or teacher, and it is fun for older kids as well. The Game of Life not only teaches kids about cash flow and money management but also career and family choices, education, borrowing money, and taxes.


Monopoly has been a family favorite board game for about 80 years. The game is best suited for players who are at least eight years old. Monopoly not only teaches money management and budgeting but also introduces kids to topics such as taxes, investment, and real estate development.

Payday is a classic board game that requires players to manage money over a monthly period. The game teaches the need for budgeting planned monthly expenses and emergency expenses out of a monthly paycheck. Payday also introduces the concept of loans and interest. It is best for players eight and older.

Online Games

Money Metropolis is a game presented by Visa’s Practical Money Skills program In this game players pick a savings goal and then need to go around their virtual town working to earn the money to reach their goal. They will be presented with other ways to spend their money and need to stay focused on their goal. This game is best suited for kids from age seven to twelve.

Road Trip to Savings is a game presented by Visa’s Practical Money Skills program. This game puts kids on a four week journey that requires budgeting expenses for their trip. Running out of money means you lose your car. This game is best for kids from seven to twelve years old.