Ways to Cut Corners During the Back to School Hustle

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If your family is anything like mine, you have already started the back to school hustle.  We have cleaned rooms to make space for new books and supplies, scheduled appointments for glasses, haircuts, and immunization shots. 

However, over the years I have found ways to cut corners when purchasing supplies and clothing.  Regardless of whether you have children going to public school, private school, online school, or a charter school there are ways to save money now to pay for yearbooks, pictures, Scholastic books, lunches, and more.

There are many ways to cut corners during the back to school hustle.  Small changes can make a huge difference.

Use Old Backpacks and Lunchboxes

Over the years I learned to teach my children to keep their backpacks and lunchboxes in decent care while at school because these are items that can easily be used again if needed. 

Many backpacks can be cleaned and washed for continuous use and the tin or material lunchboxes can also be wiped down or washed for repeated use.  If you have older teenage children, they find their favorite backpacks and supplies they may keep for many years.  This will help keep expenses down on backpacks.  

Use Last Year’s Clothes

Unless your child is younger and is going through a growth phase, there are always items that can be used again.  Additional ways to cut corners are reusing t-shirts, polos, sweaters, jackets, gloves, and undershirts that haven’t been put through the ringer. 

Go through your child’s clothing and find out what they need for the beginning of the new year.  Additional clothing like pants and jeans can always be bought all year.  There is no need to run out and get 10 pair of jeans right now if you are cutting corners. 

Only buy what is necessary and add more items over the holidays and the spring.  Kids like to mix up styles during the various seasons, anyway. 

Look for Back to School Supply Specials

Depending on where you live you will find various stores offering cheap back to school supplies for a limited time.  Check store websites for deals and dates.  Look for your states tax free weekend for shopping.  

The tax free weekend helps with clothing, computers, school supplies, and books.  Places like Staples, Walmart, and Best Buy will offer inexpensive supplies and deals on computers. 

Best Buy offers a student hub where you can sign up for back to school deals on tech and dorm room items.  

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Shopping in Bulk is Not Always the Way to Cut Corners

I used to shop at Sam’s Club and Walmart because I thought I needed large amounts of food for lunches and dinner when my children were younger.  But, honestly, all I did was spend more money. 

I was buying bulk items like fruit snacks, apple sauce, chips, multiple packs of cereal, large containers of spaghetti, and so much more.  It was getting to where I was spending $150 – $200 at Sam’s Club and then another $100 at Walmart for my regular needs. 

If you don’t need to shop in bulk, my suggestion is Don’t Do It! 

Only buy what you need for approximately one to two weeks at a time.  I have gone to ordering food online and scheduling a pickup, so I don’t over shop, and I keep to only the necessities. 

I will go in from time to time, but to buy the items I know I need to look for.  This cuts my grocery bills back and I don’t overspend on purchases I don’t need. Consider buying generic brands or lower cost items to save money.   

Cut Out Additional Costs

Now that the kids are in school do you need expenses like cable, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.  My family is down to the free Netflix stream that we get from our cell phone provider and inexpensive apps through Roku like Philo. I have turned off DirecTV and save $100 or more a month.  It is not drastic, but all the corners you cut help. 

I also know that the fall and winter months give people a different mindset about staying in.  Therefore, consider cutting out subscriptions to magazines, items that you receive on auto payment, unnecessary gym memberships, car wash memberships, and other payments that may not be needed. 

The fall is nice for taking walks and getting out before the cold months.  If you have children in sports or clubs, everyone will burn calories running around.  


  1. Every little bit helps!

  2. Thanks for this – my little girl is starting school in Sept!

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