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3 hacks for lowering back-to-school costs

The end of summer is arriving, along with cooler weather and the back-to-school season. With the with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a new school year, parents everywhere also have lots of shopping to do. 

New clothes and school supplies are just the tip of the iceberg, and if you’re living on an inconsistent income like most gig workers, you might be stressing about how to pay for everything. All that shopping doesn’t need to mean a major hit to your wallet, though. If you’re trying to keep back-to-school costs down and stay on budget as a gig worker, there are several ways to keep more money in your wallet. 

Shop secondhand stores 

Kids grow quickly, which means they often grow out of clothes before they wear them out. This is especially true of items like jackets, coats, and tops. Parents everywhere are capitalizing on this by selling their gently used kid clothes to stores like Once Upon a Child when they don’t need them anymore. And you can take advantage of this by picking up almost-new clothes for a fraction of the cost of purchasing new. If you’re willing to spend a little time browsing, you may even find shoes and bookshelves too! 

Get creative with your purchasing 

Most parents go to their favorite big-box store and grab all their school supplies in one shopping trip. While this may save you some time, it’s worth it to think outside the big-box to see what deals you can find. Amazon, office supply stores, and even dollar stores can offer steeply discounted school supplies. The savings can add up quickly, so taking a few extra minutes to check prices might be totally worth it. 

Use apps to help you save money 

Comparing prices and shopping for deals can start to feel like a part-time job. But these apps give you the freedom to easily compare prices, check coupons, and even earn cash back with your purchases with no extra work required. Simply download them or add them as a browser extension and you may be able to start saving money immediately. 

Each of these apps works differently, but they all reward their users with either savings on purchases, cash back, or gift cards, so you’ll likely save money no matter which one you choose. Ibotta users can compare prices, apply discounts, and even earn cash back simply with the click of a button. The Fetch app awards points for purchases, and you can redeem your points for gift cards. Honey and RetailMeNot both automatically apply discount codes to your online purchases, so you’ll never miss a sale again. 

Even if you’ve included back-to-school purchases in your budget, it’s nice to spend less than you planned — especially when you’re a gig worker living on a variable income. Taking the time to find deals can ultimately help you meet your savings goals, pay down debt, and live your best financial life, all while sending your kid to school in style. 

Once Upon a Child, Amazon, Ibotta, Fetch, Honey, and RetailMeNot are the trademarks of their respective owners; indi has no affiliation with these entities.