Shopping for back-to-school supplies is expensive and if you are not careful, it could easily blow up your budget and can cause financial stress. That said, I made a Back to School Saving Tips that could help you save money!
Did you know??
Source: National Retail Federation
That is a lot of spending! So without further ado, here are the things you can do to save from back-to-school shopping.
Affiliate Disclosure – I am an Affiliate of many products promoted on this website and may earn a commission if you purchase something.
Back To School Savings Tips
1. Don’t spoil your kids
Sorry parents, I know you love your kids but you should not spoil your kids if you want to save money.
Instead, train them at the young age the value of money!
Tell them mommy and/or daddy wants to spend more time with sweetheart that is why they can’t always give them new shiny things (of course, make sure you spend time with them)
Explain to them having new things doesn’t mean anything. Tell them that the secret of having many friends is being nice to them and helping their classmates who are in need and not having the coolest thing on the block.
Note: This tip is most effective when your kids are still young.
If your kids are already teenagers and they are already used to being spoiled on back-to-school then you might have to do a serious one-on-one with them if necessary.
At the end of the day, you are the parent and you are the one who is buying things so if you need to save then you should let them know that… properly!
PS. If you are a college student, then you should know that want is different from needs! If you want to save money then make you are able to identify the difference between the two and avoid buying your “wants”
2. Make a List, Stay on Budget
Classic advice on how to save money is to make a list and stay on budget.
Before you go to a store, be sure to have a list of “must-have” items and a budget.
The truth stores will have a bunch of “back-to-school” sale and if you don’t have a list with you then you will end up buying things that are on sale.
Yes, it seems smart to buy things on sale now since you are technically saving, but chances are you don’t really need those items.
So do the math!
Say there is a set of fancy notebooks and organizers for $100 that are 40% off.
That means you save $40.
But since you do not need those fancy notebooks in the first place, then you could have saved $60 if you just stick to your list!
Now, which of the two option gave you the greatest savings?
3. Browse online before shopping offline
This trick is relatively new because it is only recently the online shopping became a thing.
Today, virtually every store have its own website. This is great news to you because you can now easily compare the prices of the things you need to buy. Of course, you can always use flyers if you do not want to check prices online.
The reason you want to do this is to find out which stores sell the cheapest back to school items, go to that store, and do your shopping there.
What if you find cheap items from different stores?
Fortunately, many stores offer price match. Just go the store that has all you need and buy everything from there then ask for a price match at the checkout so you get the best prices.
If you are comfortable shopping online, then just buy everything online. Not only you will save money, but you will save time and escaped the hassle as well.
Did you know if you are a student, you get a cheaper Prime membership? On top of that, you get $10 for each friend you refer to Amazon Student!
By the way, you also get 6 months free!
4. Shop online and use online rebate sites
Coupons are one of the best ways to save money, but what if you are buying online? Can you use coupons as well?
Probably not, but don’t worry, there are a lot of online rebate sites these days.
Online rebate sites such as eBates, Honey, and Swagbucks are so easy to use it would be not smart not to use it.
Here is how you use them:
- Create an account
- Download their browser extension
- Click the extension before shopping on Amazon, eBay or basically any online shopping sites
- Shop like you normally do
- Collect your online rebates
5. Set the Price Watch Option When Shopping Online
You probably already have an idea of what you need to buy for back-to-school unless it is your first time to shop for school supplies.
You can skip to the next number if you have no previous experience of buying back to school supplies! Honestly though, who doesn’t have an experience buying back to school supplies :O
Here is what you may want to do to maximize your savings
- Make a list of items to buy for back-to-school
- Search the back-to-school items on your favorite online store
- Watchlist the back-to-school items you need
- Buy the back-to-school items when it goes on sale on sale!
Note: Make sure you use one of the online rebate extension (ebates, honey, Swagbucks) to get an additional 3 – 4% off!
6. Set the Price Watch Option When Shopping Online (On-Steroid Version)
This is similar to the above strategy, but this time, you will not rely on your favorite’s online shopping store’s native watch price button. Instead, you will go to camelcamelcamel.com.
Camelcamelcamel.com is an Amazon price tracker/ price history website that lets you see the price history of an item you wish to buy.
You can also set it so you get a notification when the price of an item you wishlist goes down to your target price.
Here is how you do it.
So for example, you need a backpack so here’s what you need to do:
1. Go to Amazon
2. Go to its backpack section
3. Look for a backpack that you want to buy
For example, this is the backpack you want to buy!
4. Copy Paste the Product Name to camelcamelcamel.com
As seen on the screenshot, you can tell camelcamelcamel.com to send you an email when the price of the backpack goes down on a certain price.
You can also see from the graph how many times the items went on sale and you can ballpark what is the average price of the bag.
Again, don’t forget to activate the online rebate sites before buying to really maximize your savings.
7. Buy second-hand items
If you want to save money a lot on back-to-school shopping, then start buying second-hand items.
Seriously! There is nothing wrong with buying items that were previously used by others.
Here is great news for you.
Many people have been brained wash by corporate America that every year you must buy new things.
Since many fall into this trap then there is a huge supply for second-hand items. Usually, these second-hand items are slightly used too because people are always chasing the next new thing even if they go broke.
Bottom line is,
“Who cares if it is second-hand items?” As long as it is clean, functioning and in great shape go and buy it.
Okay, realistically speaking, you cannot buy everything second hand. Some people are not comfortable wearing clothes that were previously worn by others. That is okay.
However, there are still a lot of school items that can be bought second hand. Here is a list of some of the things you can buy 2nd hand:
- School bags
- Lunch bags
- Computer Accessories
- Dorm Furnishing such as plastic storage bins, buildable racks/shelving units, fan, desk and floor lamps, etc.
- Dorm Supplies such as hangers, mini-fridge, microwave,
- White/Cork/Bulletin Boards
- Office Supplies such as Scissors, Hole Punchers, Stapler, Calculators,
The point is to think first if you really NEED (not want) to buy a brand new item before you buy one. Don’t be ashamed of buying second-hand items especially if it is not necessary.
Best place to find really good second-hand items are eBay, Facebook Market Place, Kijiji, and many more!
8. Buy in bulk, divide it with friends
This is a perfect strategy if you have dormmates.
Just talk to them and see what common items you need then go buy bulk items, divide it then divide the cost. You will save money doing this because bulk items are usually cheaper than buying individually packed items.
If you want to go above and beyond, you can create a Facebook group, and add people you know in your campus, then advertise the items you are planning to buy from a wholesaler and ask if anyone if they need those things as well.
9. Sell unwanted items on eBay or other marketplaces
Instead of allowing your stuff to pile up in your storage, go find and sell your unwanted items on eBay, Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
Technically, this is not saving. However, if you use the money you earned to buy your back-to-school supplies then at least it will mitigate the hit from your monthly budget.
I have written guides on how to sell on eBay in case you want to sell your unwanted items but you don’t knowhow.
10. Why buy new clothes?
I honestly don’t get why many people plan to buy new clothes and accessories at the start of the school year.
Is our world actually that messed up, others will shame those who can’t afford to buy new ones every year?
I buy clothes when my other ones are worn out.
Okay fine. Back in the days, I also got insecure that people might make fun of me because I’m wearing the same clothes every time. But I told myself that at least I have a stack of cash in my bank that I can easily slap whoever attempts to tease me to death.
Works like a charm. Nobody ever questioned what I wear and I save thousands of dollars!
That’s All For Me
Well, that is all I could think of right now.
I hope these tips will help you save money this school year.
Which one do you like the most?
Is there something you believe is not plausible?
Do you have a back-to-school saving tip that you want to add?
Feel free to comment on your feedback, questions, and suggestions, down in the comment section.