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Back-to-School Shopping - The Frugal Way

Whether you are looking forward to it or not, back to school is right around the corner. As a parent, aside from enjoying summer, you always have back-to-school shopping in the back of your mind (pun intended!). But there’s no need to fret. Your family can transition into the new school year with ease with my frugal back-to-school shopping tips!

Shop online

If you are like me, who hates the frenzy of mall shopping during the back-to-school season, this is a double win for you! Shopping online allows you to find the best deals before clicking the ‘buy’ button. Coupon stacking is hard to come by in Canada, but did you know this can be easily done online? Shop through the Rakuten website or app to get cash back and use store-specific coupons to get more savings on top. Rakuten gives you cash back just from shopping online. There are many stores who participate in the program and, yes, it is legit.

I have been a Rakuten shopper since 2015 and my lifetime cashback total is $1,495.42!

Schools in Calgary are also subscribed to the program where you can buy all of your required school supplies online. Your school will receive part of the profit and you can also donate extra dollars for teacher supplies. This saves you from running around to six different stores to check off all of your kids’ school lists, which saves you gas money, eating-out costs, and your sanity!

School start bundles are available online at the beginning of June and they ship the package to your home for free. They even include name sticker labels for free! Order before the previous school year ends  and you will not have to think about school supplies all summer long.

Shop off-season

Speaking of shopping for school supplies in June, another tip is to shop off-season. I typically purchase my kids’ winter outerwear at the end of the previous winter. Usually around February or March, I start stalking the sales for good deals on outerwear for next winter. As long as your kids do not have an extreme growth spurt, this technique works! It has been working for my family for several years. You can find excellent quality outerwear marked down up to 70 percent during off-season. In fact, I generally follow the shop-off-season rule when purchasing all of my kids’ clothes.

Shop second-hand

Kids outgrow their clothes and get bored of their stuff so fast nowadays that it is best to save your money by shopping second-hand. The biggest tip I have for shopping second-hand is the ‘rule of one-third.’ When a second-hand item costs one-third or less of its retail price, that’s the only time it is worth buying.

Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji are the two most common online second-hand items websites I use. I always haggle for prices when dealing with sellers online. No harm in trying to get a better deal, right? There are also a lot of thrift stores scattered around Alberta if you prefer in-person shopping. A bonus of shopping second-hand is you are saving those items from ending up in the landfill. Not only are you saving money, you are saving the planet.

Also, I usually sell the clothes my kids have outgrown to second-hand shops. The money I get from selling their clothes usually pays for at least 30 percent of their new wardrobe.

Shop ‘just enough’

My rule of thumb for kids’ wardrobes? Have enough for three weeks. Why three weeks? I usually do the family laundry weekly but if I don’t, my kids will still have clothes to wear if I choose to slack off for a week. Also, when my family goes on holidays, we typically go for one or two weeks. Having that third week of clothes handy allows me time to catch up on the dirty laundry after we return from holidays. Remember to tailor your ‘just enough’ to your family’s needs.

I hope you had a fun summer, and I hope these tips help ease the burden of back-to-school shopping.

Find more tips for frugal living on Klynne’s blog, Feeling Social? Chat with Klynne.




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