What To Buy NOW To Save Hundreds This Upcoming School Year

Save This School Year

Okay, I know the last (literally, the last) thing you want to think about right now is the upcoming school year. But for us in Florida, we have less than 25 days until school starts again. And as much as I want to wait until the last minute to buy things, I know that making purchases in a time crunch almost always results in spending more than I need too.

I’m not going to talk about traditional school supplies today like pencils, crayons, and notebooks. Those items go on sale at the beginning of August (depending on where you live), so you can wait to take advantage of those sales. But I do want you to start thinking of online and second-hand items that may take a little more time to find, but will save you hundreds of dollars when the school year comes around!       

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What To Buy To Save Hundreds This School Year

1.A good quality backpack.

I let my daughter pick out a cheap character backpack from Target before her first day of preschool. It was a thick plastic material and the poor princess’ face peeled away before Christmas. And it was $20. After our princess fail, I started to eyeball the cute pottery barn backpacks that looked durable, washable and super cute. But when the next school year rolled around, I also wasn’t ready to drop more than $50 on a bag. (We were in the middle of paying off $81,400 worth of debt!)

In one of my summer thrift store adventures, I found a purple (my daughter’s favorite color!) pottery barn kids backpack for $3.99. It was the exact backpack I had been eyeing for less than 90% off!

what to buy for back to school

The backpack made in through my daughter’s kindergarten year and I have no plans on replacing it anytime soon. If you plan ahead and look for a backpack second-hand, you’ll probably be able to snag a much higher-quality option for a few bucks. And who knows, you may get lucky and find exactly what you’re looking for!

2. A lunchbox with a reusable food container. 

Owning a good lunch box will save you hundreds this year in school lunches. I suggest looking for a high-quality bag second-hand, but there are also a ton of reasonable options for lunch boxes around $10 on Amazon! (You’ll do much better on Amazon than in a store.)

As a side note, I’ve invested hundreds of dollar in different lunch boxes and food storage options in my lifetime. I pack lunches for my family almost every single day.  Here are things that I don’t like.

  • A lunch box that doesn’t have room for a reusable food container and an ice pack.
  • Too many reusable food containers. (Opposed to one big food container with different compartments.)
  • Food containers that don’t have enough room for a sandwich.
  • Food containers that leak.
  • Thin lunch boxes that don’t insulate.

The containers that I’ve used for both of my kids for the last 3 years were from Target. (You can also see how I pack a streamlined lunch for my kids in under a minute here.)

3 Tips To Pack A School Lunch In 1 Minute

Here is another lunch container that will hold a sandwich plus additional snacks. Think carefully through what your kids like to eat for lunch and buy a lunchbox that will work.

3. New-to-you clothes (And only if you child absolutely NEEDS clothes.) 

Have I ever told you that you can find amazing items at second-hand stores like Once Upon A Child?! Okay, I’m going to say it again. But the trick with buying school clothes second-hand is that you don’t want to wait until the weekend before school starts. You want to start now. While everyone else is lounging by the pool, you need to make a trip over to the thrift store and buy all those Gap Kids outfits with the tags still attached.

I know that people will say it’s better to wait until the tax-free weekend and buy clothes new, but be careful. Feeling like you’re getting a good deal often ends in overspending. (Or is this just me?!)

I’m also a huge proponent of not buying school clothes unless your child truly needs them. With our little rental and lack of space, I’ve purged so much stuff and I’m trying hard not to accumulate more. I want my children to feel comfortable as they head back into the classroom, but I’m not going to get swept up into the new shirt, new pants, new shoes, new socks phenomenon.

4. Holiday items 

If you think I’m jumping the gun with back-to-school shopping, you may think I’m crazy for bringing up Christmas. But I’m going to do it. I got a fantastic deal on a fancy Christmas dress for my daughter last summer. (And the red dress below was another second-hand dress that I bought two summers ago that still fits her!) Most kids have holiday recitals that require dressing up for the occasion. By keeping your eyes open for good deals on holiday items, you can save yourself time and money by planning ahead.

How To Save This School Year

The trick to saving money this school year is to think ahead. If you give yourself enough time to find a good deal, you’ll end up with better quality items and money in the bank. So take the time this summer to plan for a success this year.

Have you bought anything for the school year yet? 


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