Depending on where you live right now, school is either about start online, cautiously returning in a few weeks, or still being approached with a wait-and-see attitude. This mix is creating a lot of anxiety for most of the frugal families we know who are trying to plan ahead. After all, how do you budget for a school sports season if you aren’t sure if football will happen?

To be honest, we aren’t sure either but based on what we do know about school this fall, here’s some tips on money saving strategies.

Invest In Technology

Whether your student is in elementary school or college, there’s a good chance they will need additional technology to get through this school year. Though it seems counter intuitive to spend money to save, investing in technology now should last for years to come, even after “normal” school resumes.

Here are some of our best coupons for laptops, tablets, and desktop computers. Yes, you really can get a Chromebook for as little as $99. If that’s still too much of stretch for the budget, consider partnering with a neighbor to share costs or see if anyone you know has a used device they could sell for less. We’ve seen a lot of people helping people right now as everyone struggles to find footing with this unfamiliar process.

If you have some wiggle room or just want to go ahead and invest more in the possibility of long-term online learning, you may want to snag new ear phones or a printer.

Skip the New Clothes

If you’ve read any of our other back to school blog posts, then you know we are huge fans of NOT buying kids all new clothing when going back to school. Especially if school starts in August. Especially during a pandemic.

Resist the pressure to have brand-new everything. After all, most of us have been home for months and ALL our clothing options will seem new to everyone else.

For the necessities like new shoes or uniforms, be sure to shop wisely and maximize all discounts and coupons available. We are also big fans of second hand options here!

Pause on Hobbies

If you have a kid who love sports, art, or music – getting the right gear for their new year is usually a highlight of returning to school. However, based on what’s happening with college football and live theater decisions right now, it’s probably not the right time to purchase all new gear.

Instead use this time to keep an eye out on Nextdoor, Facebook or Craigslist for people selling accessories, equipment or instruments at greatly reduced prices.

PS – for anyone who may need an uplifting reminder today, we’ve found ourselves especially fond of this quote from Spanish author Isabel Allende:

“We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside when life puts us to the test.”