Back-to-School Shopping: Stretch Your Dollars with Cash from Gift Cards

Families will spend an average of $890.07 on back-to-school supplies this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts. That’s $25 more than last year’s average of $864.35, setting a new record. Electronics like computers, tablets, and calculators are driving up the costs, says the NRF. But the costs of items like clothes, backpacks, shoes, and extracurricular equipment can also add up quickly. So can the myriad smaller necessities like notebooks, writing utensils, and art supplies. 

Of course, inflation also plays a role in rising costs. With the increased price of goods, many families will find themselves stretched thin by back-to-school shopping, leading many to turn to credit. 

But what if you had an easy source of untapped funds that could help? If you have any unused gift cards lying around, you just might have a way to fund many of those back-to-school purchases without dipping into your bank account.

Using Gift Cards for Back-to-School Needs

By allowing you to quickly convert prepaid and gift cards to cash, Prepaid2Cash can help you fund your back-to-school needs. With our user-friendly app, you simply scan your unneeded card, then transfer the funds into your account. You can gain access to them in as little as 15 minutes. 

In the U.S., adults have an average of $187 in unused gift cards funds. Combined with careful budgeting, those dollars could cover a substantial chunk of your back-to-school shopping! Your kids may also have unwanted gift cards that they’d rather use on a much-anticipated back-to-school purchase, too. If so, talk with them about this idea and try it out together.

Budgeting for Back-to-School Shopping

Maximize those back-to-school funds through careful budgeting. Here are some of our favorite tips on planning what to buy as well as where and when to buy it.

Use a Budgeting Tool

Try using a free budgeting calculator to estimate your needs. To meet your budget, assess what you can reuse again from previous years. Involve your child in the planning process, discussing their needs together.

Avoid Impulse Buys

Instead of making snap decisions on what to buy, think strategically about where and when to buy things. Look up prices online, from multiple sellers, to find the best deal. 

And don’t be coerced into making a quick purchase by a deal that looks too good to pass up, American Consumer Credit Counseling says. Many families aim to use coupons and back-to-school deals to lower costs. But these deals can be a double-edged sword—sometimes they prompt us to buy things we may not have purchased otherwise. 

Creating a list of true essentials before back-to-school shopping season begins, and pricing them, will help you make wise choices when deals pop up. Keep it on your phone for easy reference when you’re out shopping.

Wait for the Best Deals

If you don’t need something now, you might find better deals around Labor Day—after back-to-school season has passed—CNBC says. Stores will be eager to offload overstocked inventory like backpacks, and you might find good deals on electronics as well. Try using a price-tracking tool like Keepa, a browser extension, to give you alerts when prices drop.

With cash from unwanted gift cards and the help of these tips, you’ll navigate back-to-school shopping seamlessly, getting the maximum bang for your buck. You and your child will approach the new school year feeling prepared and excited to dive in!

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