For Bartow County resident Sheryl Davis, back-to-school shopping without breaking the bank means stocking up on supplies and clothing little-by-little throughout the year.
Spending a few dollars here and there rather than plunking down hundreds at once makes it much easier, she said.
“You can afford it if you spread it out,” said Davis, an avid couponer who carries her tote bag full of coupons with her to clip while she watches her two youngest children play. “My main thing is to do a little at a time, spread it all out.”
But, spreading out purchases doesn’t mean spending full price—or even close to it. Davis buys the bulk of her children’s clothing in the off-season, purchasing a size larger than they currently wear so they’ll fit. For example, she stocks up on winter clothes during the clearance sales in the summer, and summer clothes she purchases at rock-bottom prices later in the year.
And, using discounts, such as percentage-off coupons and cards for $10 off a purchase issued by Kohl’s, makes her money stretch even farther for those clearance finds.
“I won’t buy anything at full price,” Davis said.
While most of the children’s clothing is purchased in the off-season, she does buy a few outfits when the new school year approaches, especially for her teenage daughter. But, to keep her daughter in check, she gives her a certain amount of money. Once that’s gone, she can’t buy anymore clothes unless she uses money she earns from babysitting.
“It’s up to her (what she buys),” Davis said. “If you only buy two outfits, it’s up to you. I talked to a lot of moms whose kids won’t wear what they buy. Get a budget and stick with it.”
Another idea Davis had was to skip eating out every now and then and put that money aside for clothing. And, she exchanges children’s clothes with friends.
“I love it,” she said. “I don’t throw anything away.”
One thing Davis doesn’t skimp on, though, are shoes. Purchasing name-brand shoes when they’re on sale and with a coupon saves money initially, and you also won’t have to replace them as often.
“That’s what I’ve experienced the last couple of years,” Davis said. “I bought $10 shoes and within two weeks they were trash.”
The best time to buy school supplies is right before the new school year begins, Davis said.
For example, Publix has pens on sale for 50 cents each. Coupons for 50 cents off of two pens double to $1, making them free. Other deals include buy-one-get-one-free markers and crayons, glue sticks, notebooks and other items priced at 33 cents each.
The first sales tax holiday in Georgia since 2009 is set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10 and 11, two days after school starts in local county and city schools. Sales tax will be suspended on general school supplies with a sales price of less than $20 per item, clothing (including shoes) priced at $100 or less, and computers and computer accessories with a sales price of $1,000 or less.
Find what local students will need for back-to-school: