Paraeducators, rejoice! The back-to-school season is upon us, and that means it's time to start hunting for bargains. From planners to pens to entire wardrobes, our main challenge is finding it all at a reasonable price. Of course, as a paraeducator, you know that every little bit helps when it comes to your budget. Here are a few ideas to help you get your back-to-school shopping completed with as little money spent as possible.
When do Back-to-School Bargains Begin?
The earlier you start your back-to-school shopping, the more likely you are to find great deals. Many stores start putting out back-to-school sales in late July or early August, so start your search then. So do some research. Check out websites and store flyers to see what sales are happening and what items are available. And don't forget to use those coupons. You can also ask other paraeducators for recommendations. Once you have a good idea of what you need, it's time to start shopping around.
5 Tips for Paras to Get the Best Back-to-School Bargains
Big Box Stores
Some people love them and some people hate them, but when it comes to affordable back-to-school shopping big box stores can’t be beaten. Check out stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco. They usually have a good selection of school supplies at lower prices. It’s nice to have a one-stop-shop where you can buy practically everything on your back-to-school list, or at least to be able to stop there on the way home after you’ve been everywhere else and still have a few items you couldn’t find.
Dollar stores used to have cheap products that didn’t always work correctly. Now, many dollar stores sell exactly the same merchandise that is sold in other stores, only for less money. Shop around, since dollar stores are similar to other stores in the sense that some are better than others, and you may have to go to a few to find exactly what you are looking for.
Of course, you don't have to spend a lot of money to get great supplies for your students. Sometimes the best deals are found at garage sales and thrift stores. Used clothing and items no longer have a stigma attached to them. Not to mention, no one needs to know that your adorable jacket or designer shoes were previously loved. Try out this widely-used secret if you want your clothing and items to be one-of-a-kind and not just something that everyone else will be wearing or using. With a little creativity, you can find everything you need without breaking the bank.
Apps are a great addition to your back-to-school prepping, and there are many new ones that can make your life easier. Instead of purchasing a bunch of fancy apps for your smartphone, though, try out the free ones. From organizers to calendars, to fancy calculators and trackers, your smartphone can be loaded with the newest and best apps for nothing, or next to nothing.
What could be better than not to even having to go to the shopping mall at all? (Do we still do malls? I can't remember the last time I went to one.) It is now possible to do all your back-to-school shopping from home. You can purchase everything online – from clothing to stationery, to school snacks… and even have it delivered right to your door. Be sure to leave enough time so that if something doesn’t fit right or looks the way you imagined, you will have time to return, exchange or replace the item before school starts. Online sites such as eBay and Amazon are a great start in your search, and there are many more that carry various items.
In addition, there are many websites that offer discounts on education-related items. You can also sign up for email newsletters from your favorite stores to receive coupons and promo codes. Another option is to wait for the end-of-season sales. Many stores offer significant discounts on items that are no longer needed for the current school year. And don't forget to compare prices; sometimes you can find the same item for a lower price on a different website.
Bonus: Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you're not sure where to start your search for back-to-school bargains, ask your friends, family, and colleagues for their recommendations. Chances are, they know a thing or two about finding a great deal.
More Savings: Stores That Offer Teacher Discounts to Paras
Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to completely drain your wallet of money. There are many different places to find all the items you need. The competition is fierce, and this works in your favor. Get your shopping started now and you'll be ready on the first day of school with all your bargains, ready to do their job. So there you have it: a few tips to help you find the best back-to-school bargains. Do you have any other tips for finding back-to-school bargains? Share them in the comments below! Happy shopping!