It’s that time of year again! The kids are exchanging their baseball bats for number 2 pencils. College students are setting up their dorm rooms. With these transitions comes added costs. Everyone needs the proper gear for getting started for a new school year. This post will explain the 7 ways to save on back to school shopping.
1. Sell Last Year’s Items
Alternatively, do you have any supplies from last year you can sell? It can generate revenue for this upcoming year. Consider parlaying the cash just like serial entrepreneurs do when they sell a business. They often move it into the next. This is easily done for textbooks, electronics, and fashionable clothing.
2. Understand There’s Some Wiggle Room in the School Supply List Sent by Teachers
My cousin went shopping for her 3 children last week. It took her 3 stores before she found an orange notebook. In reality, the teacher would probably have been fine with an orange sheet of paper glued to the front of any old notebook. Or even just writing ‘orange’ on the front (as long as the child could read it). Supply lists usually have wiggle room. It’s probably not worth spending an hour in the car just to track down a 50 cent notebook.
3. Weather out the Storm
During my first year of college, I did everything by the book (pun). Meaning, I got all the books my professors told me to get. I got them ahead of time. I got the exact editions they told me I had to get. I found out this was a mistake.
Plenty of teachers/professors over ask when it comes to supplies. Much of what you are asked to buy may end up being a waste. For instance, most textbooks remain the same for years and years. They only make slight revisions and call them a new edition. I was an ‘A’ student in college and buying books a few editions old never held me back one bit. Older editions are usually about 50% cheaper!
My advice is to wait a few weeks before making the major purchases. See if all the supplies are really needed. This also means you may have a better selection. Most stuff gets pretty picked over before school starts – offline or online. Wait until you really need the stuff. This works especially well if you have Amazon Prime. Hooray for 2-day shipping!
4. Use Tech When Possible
When I was in elementary, everyone used to praise me for my excellent penmanship. Today, I couldn’t care less about my handwriting. Technology is taking over and that will continue. This means students should get familiar with technology. This will also save on the cost of notebooks, pens, pencils, backpacks (because they won’t tear from the weight of books inside), etc. Use tech especially if the school provides it. If you must buy the tech, of course that’s more expensive than pencils and notebooks. But it’s more useful to the student as well.
5. Buy Used
A good rule of thumb is to always consider the used market before the new market. What can you buy used? Almost anything. Check eBay and Craigslist. Also check with friends. They may have a perfect set of tennis shoes for your son. When I was in college, I saved a lot by getting textbooks from the upperclassman. They usually sold them to me for about the price of a large pizza.
6. Use Last Year’s Supplies
What you first want to do before buying ANYTHING is to look over your entire house. Check last year’s backpacks, closets, the home office, storage containers, etc. Kids rarely finish school with exactly the right amount of paper, pencils, and notebooks. There will be leftovers. What supplies do you already have on hand? It’s important to know how much stuff you currently have before assuming you need to buy anything. You may have enough leftovers from last year to keep you going for at least a few months.
7. Tax Holiday’s!
It’s fantastic if you are able to plan ahead and shop during a back to school tax holiday! See this complete list of tax holiday’s by state. Act quickly because they typically only last one weekend!
Back to school season is stressful enough without getting worried about money. Use these 7 back to school savings tips and you’re sure to save money. Comment below if you know of more ways to save.
Good luck this year!