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How To Avoid Overspending And Save Money On Back-To-School Shopping

How To Avoid Overspending And Save Money On Back-To-School Shopping

It’s time to go back to school for a lot of kids and adults. That means it’s time to go get the pencils and pens, backpacks and shoes, and re-evaluate the old wardrobe. It can be an expensive time of year for parents and college students alike so here are some ways to do back to school shopping the smart way.

1. Wait for the end of the summer sales

Sales are a beautiful thing and the end of the summer usually gives you a lot of options of stuff to buy. Usually this is more for things like shoes, backpacks, and cloths. Many stores will have specific back to school shopping sales for school supplies too. You may have to wait into the first few weeks into the school year to find the sales, but they are there and patience is a virtue.

2. Anticipate by buying early

back to school shopping

    Your kids may need a new winter jacket or some new jeans. The best time to buy that stuff is during the opposite season that you’ll actually need it. A lot of stores will deeply discount these items during the spring or summer because people don’t normally buy winter jackets in the spring or summer. Buy them early enough and you can save yourself a pretty penny heading into fall. You can also get sales on school supplies like this sometimes if you keep an eye out.

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    3. Shop during your state’s tax free weekend

    There are 17 states that allow you to shop for school supplies tax free for a weekend to help you save money for the upcoming school year. You wouldn’t think that it’s a lot but if you’re shopping for two or three kids or you’re buying some new computer equipment, those costs (and therefore those taxes) can add up quickly. For a full list of states that do this every year, check this link. Sadly, many states have already had theirs but yours could still be upcoming and this is still valuable information for next year.

    4. Don’t buy in bulk

    Buying in bulk is a double edged sword. On one hand, you get a lot of stuff and the price per item is typically less than if you bought that item separately. On the other hand, you have to spend extra money to get things in bulk. In some cases it makes sense. Getting a $10 box of 50 pens is a great idea. Spending $20 on ten 3-ring binders or $30 on 15 spiral notebooks is a horrible idea. Unless you have six kids, you can usually save money on buying individually for most items.

    5. Donate or sell items you intend on discarding

    When you upgrade your (or your kids’) wardrobe, that means there are cloths that need to go. Instead of tossing them, you can sell them in a garage sale or at a second-hand store. This can earn you a few bucks to offset the money you just spent on newer cloths. Of course, if you’re well off, you could always donate them to charity too. Just a though.

    6. Find the free (or cheap) software for your computer

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    back to school shopping

      With school comes the need for some software. You (or your kids) will be writing essays, doing presentations, research projects, and all sorts of other stuff. Much like cloths, software goes on sale fairly frequently. There are also people who simply don’t need that much. You don’t need to spend $200 on Microsoft Office if your kid only needs to write the occasional school paper. Something like Google Drive (free) will work just as well. Many software vendors will have huge sales or even give away expensive software for free to college students. Just ask your college advisors or check sites like DreamSpark. Also, make sure you double check with schools before buying any software. You don’t want to fork out money for something you don’t need.

      7. Don’t spend too much on cloths

      Fashion is a fickle thing and shopping for all of the school cloths over the summer is usually a bad move. When the school year stars, new trends will happen and you (or your kids) may need a small update here and there to stay en vogue. If you spend less on cloths during the summer, you’ll have more on your budget to augment your style over the course of the fall and winter so you stay in style. Of course, that only applies if the current trends matter to you. Otherwise, some jeans, a t-shirt, and a jacket are still a solid way to go.

      8. Shop online

      Brick and mortar stores aren’t the only places that have back to school sales. Amazon, eBay, Newegg, and other online retailers often have similar sales for going back to school. You can find a surprising assortment of useful school items for relatively cheap online. Especially at places like Newegg where you can get a decent laptop for hundreds of dollars off if you don’t mind refurbished machines.

      9. Don’t give in to peer pressure

      According to a poll, the majority of parents feel peer pressure to buy things their kids don’t need because other parents bought their kids things. Don’t subject yourself to that nonsense. You and your kids’ school know what they need. If you have the budget after buying the essentials, then maybe spend a couple of bucks to buy your kid the cooler stuff that they probably don’t need but don’t feel like you have to do it. A pen is a pen, a 3-ring binder is a 3-ring binder. Dropping an extra $15 on it because it has Groot on it is absurd.

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      A much more cost effective (and fun) idea is to get things that are solid colored and then print out pictures and images of popular characters. Allowing your kids to customize their own stuff allows them to create what they want instead of buying something for two or three times the cost. It can save money and sometimes it looks even better than the store bought stuff.

      10. Look for student discounts

      We’ve mentioned it a little bit in earlier parts of this list, but student discounts are everywhere. Software sites like DreamSpark offer deeply discounted (or free) software for students. Many colleges have deals with software sellers to get you things like Microsoft Office for a deep discount (or free). Some brick and mortar stores will give you discounts if you show a student ID. They’re not everywhere but if you can find them, they do add up.

      11. Raid the coupon websites

      These days the best coupons are online. One of the the more popular coupon sites is RetailMeNot. By raiding the online coupon sites, you can find deals that people normally wouldn’t find in the newspaper coupons or in-store sales. Every dollar counts and coupons are a great way to make that money stretch.

      12. Offer your kids a bargain-reward solution

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      back to school shopping

        A fun strategy some parents use is allow their kids to bargain shop. If they can get all of their supplies in under a certain budget, you then reward that by letting them get a must-have item (almost) regardless of the cost. That puts the savings in the kids hands and allows them to choose what to cheap out on. You get to spend less and they don’t get mad at you for choosing cheap stuff for them. That’s a win-win.

         

        Back to school shopping is a yearly event. Once you figure out a plan that works for you and your kids, the next year gets easier because you already know what to do. Best of luck!

        Featured photo credit: Teaching Happily Ever After via teachinghappilyeverafter.blogspot.com

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        Joseph Hindy

        A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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        Last Updated on April 19, 2021

        40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

        40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

        Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

        1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

        Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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          2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

          We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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            3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

            Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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              4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

              Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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                5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

                Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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                  6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

                  We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                    7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                    This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                      8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                      One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                        9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                        If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                          10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                          Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                            11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                            Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                              12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                              Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                                13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                                You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                                  14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                                  With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                    15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                    Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                    Black-Bean-Cilantro-Mango

                                      16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                      If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                        17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                        The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                          18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                          If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                            19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                            Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                              20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                              I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                                21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                                Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                                  22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                                  You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                    23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                    Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                    Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                      24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                      Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                        25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                        Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                          26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                          If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                            27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                            Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                              28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                              A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                                29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                                You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                                  30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                                  Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                    31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                    Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                      32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                      Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                        33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                        Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                          34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                          If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                            35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                            Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                              36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                              Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                                37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                                You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                                  38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                                  Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                    39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                    Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                      40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                      You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                        Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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