Back-to-school on a budget: 5 ways to save your money

Back-to-school season means you’re back to packing lunches, doing homework, and navigating after school activities. It’s also back to the second most expensive shopping season of the year, behind the winter holidays. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, Americans rack up a big bill of over $82 billion in back-to-school shopping, with the average family spending $684.79 for their K-12 students and $942.17 for their children in college.

News flash, parents: back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg! Telhio has some great tips that will save your money (and sanity) on your back-to-school prep:

1. Set aside money throughout the year.

While this may seem difficult due to unplanned expenses, setting aside money throughout the year for back-to-school shopping will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Saving just $25 a month for 12 months gives you $300 toward school expenses, which will help you stick to a budget and avoid overspending. This is especially important if your student is headed to college where necessities can include big ticket items such as a laptop. Telhio Credit Union offers savings accounts that earn interest every day, which can help you save more for school shopping, vacations or other expenses.

2. Find resale deals on clothes and equipment.

Why spend hundreds on expensive name brand clothes that you know won’t fit your kids next year? Many popular resale stores offer incredible back-to-school clothes at incredible prices; and some items are brand new with tags! You can also find great deals at local neighborhood garage sales or online resale groups. Before you buy, spend some time clearing out your kid’s closet and sell the items to resale stores that will pay you for gently used clothes and toys. You will then have extra cash and more closet space for the new school year. If your child is planning on playing a sport, consider buying gently used sports equipment. It’s a great alternative to spending money on a sport they may not play again next year.

3. Save on textbooks.

Gone are the days of spending hundreds of dollars on brand new textbooks you’ll never use again. Sites like let you rent your textbooks at a lower cost, while Amazon sells brand new or used books at competitive prices. Some textbooks are even available as eBooks that you can download on your computer.

4. Watch for sales.

Back-to-school sales can be found anywhere, but researching the BEST deals is crucial to getting more bang for your buck. Take advantage of your state’s tax free weekend that happens just before school starts in August. If you find that your student doesn’t need all of their supplies on the first day, wait until September for great back-to-school closeouts that can’t be beat. Prices on big items such as laptops and printers also drop during the months of October and November; so if your college student can wait, we suggest they do so.

Learn more about Telhio by visiting

Telhio Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in Franklin, Fairfield, Delaware, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, Union, Hamilton, Warren, Butler and Preble counties. Founded in 1934, originally as the credit union for the Columbus Telephone Co., Telhio is a not-for-profit financial cooperative where its members are also its owners. Driven by its philosophy that members come first, Telhio is committed to the highest standards of responsibility and conduct. Telhio offers a variety of innovative programs, services and products to support its members’ financial needs. Telhio offers 10 branching offices throughout Central and Southwestern Ohio.

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