Like many Aberdonians, Anna Holler is watching her spending and trying to stretch every penny during this back-to-school shopping season.
The 29-year-old mother of an 11-year-old son, Daniel, said she'll most likely wrap up her school shopping some time this week. So far she's been able to stay on budget while getting the items her son needs.
Typically, I start shopping for back-to-school stuff in mid-July, she said. I pay close attention to the sales and coupons while looking for items I know Daniel will need. I've done this for several years now, so I know what to expect and where the deals are on supplies and clothes. I have a system.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
Holler's system starts with a soft budget. She said she tries to stay within a certain price range.
Last year, I spent close to $200, she added. Most of that was probably on clothing because Daniel was pretty much set on supplies. I'm hoping to stay within that range this year, too. Things are looking good so far, but there are a few more things on his 'needs' list. I'm just waiting to see if they'll go on sale.
As for supplies, Holler said many of the department stores have a huge section of items on sale for pennies.
I usually buy that stuff in bulk, just so I don't have to worry about it during the school year, she said. One tip I would pass on to other parents is to teach their kids about not being wasteful with their supplies. It'll save money.
For Calena Brown of the Gettysburg area, back-to-school shopping can be quite the challenge. Brown, 44, and a mother of four, said she never stops shopping for back-to-school merchandise.
I look for deals, or bulk buys, all year long, she added. When you have four school-aged kids, you have to.
Brown said buying school supplies is an easy task.
It's the fitting everyone for clothes - that tends to be expensive, Brown said.
To keep clothing expenses down, Brown said she frequents Aberdeen consignment shops first for clothing items her children may need.
Consignment shops have saved my family from going bankrupt, Brown said jokingly. You find great deals there, and get a lot more for your dollar.
Tips for back-to-school shopping
Take inventory: Consider what you'll actually need before hitting the stores. Have your children grown out of their schools clothes, or will they do so by November? Can you reuse last year's school supplies, or will you need to replace some items?
Set a budget: Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases.
Clothing swaps/consignment shops: Organize a clothing swap group with family and friends who have children around the same age. With friends and family, exchange clothing your kids have outgrown. Also shop consignment stores. Aberdeen, for example, has six.
Use coupons: There might be great deals, but coupons can make them even greater.
Labor Day: This holiday is a traditional time for big sales on school clothing. You might take a chance and wait until then to buy necessary items for your child.
Buy for yourself: Back-to-school sales aren't just for kids. You might stock up on office supplies, jeans, and other items that traditionally go on sale during this season.
Source: Family Features
Be sure to check out the back-to-school information section in Monday's paper featuring area schools. The special section will include information such as school start dates, enrollment, new teachers and returning administrators, what's new on campus, and details on how state budget cuts have affected schools. The back-to-school information section for local schools, including Aberdeen Public and Roncalli, will be published Aug. 22.