Shopping for back-to-school supplies can be an expensive exercise, but there are many ways to make savings by utilizing a few tips and tricks.
Here are 7 simple money-saving tips to keep your back-to-campus shopping to a minimum.
1. Don’t double up on what you already have
Unless this is the first year that you have ever bought supplies for school, chances are that you have a surprising amount of stuff left over that is still perfectly usable.
This might sound obvious, but all-too-many people get stuck thinking that they need to buy everything brand new for a new year, yet they are surrounded by many items with plenty of life left in them. So, do a full inventory of what you already have before finalizing a list of what you actually need to buy.
2. Plan and budget
Once you have a firm list of all the essentials that must be bought, work out a budget and break it down into realistic categories, such as clothing, supplies, electronics etc. Having a budget to follow and track can help you to avoid overspending.
3. Buy in bulk when it makes sense to
Any items that you will repeatedly need throughout the year can be saved upon if you buy them in bulk at a discounted price. So, any time you find a great deal on any replaceable items, such as stationary for example, buy up for the year – you’ll make a saving overall as well as relieve yourself of having to reshop every time you run low on a particular supply.
4. Delay less-urgent purchases to spread the expense
There may be some items that you simply won’t actually need at the start of the year, some perhaps not even for the first semester.
So, for example, if there is an expensive textbook for a subject that you won’t be starting until later in the term or year, leave purchasing it until nearer the time to spread the costs instead of having to find it all upfront.
This goes for seasonal clothing, too, and anything else that isn’t an urgent purchase.
5. Search for student discounts
There are a wide variety of discounts available for college students on many different purchases, including technology, clothing, travel, streaming media and more.
For example, Amazon Prime offers students half price membership, Grubhub gives student members free delivery on orders over $12, Spotify offers significantly reduced student subscriptions, and you can get 10% – 15% off of student travel through Amtrak and Greyhound.
For these and more student savings, take a look at bankrate.com’s list of 2021 offers. These savings may not always seem like a lot, but there are so many student offers to utilize across a variety of daily expenses, that the savings can really stack up over a year.
6. Don’t pay full price on tech items
Electronic devices and technologies can represent the greatest expense when it comes to preparing for life as a student on campus, but it needn’t be quite as costly as you think.
For starters, refurbished electronics are often in ‘like-new’ condition and sold for a fraction of the cost of a new one off the shelf. This goes for laptops, desktops, monitors, tablets, televisions and audio equipment. The important thing is to ensure that the item has been genuinely refurbished and not only cleaned up and repackaged.
To be sure, you can stick to buying refurbished products from the original manufacturers, for example:
- Samsung-certified refurbished phones carry a one-year warranty
- Apple also offers a one-year warranty on its pre-owned phones
- When you buy a refurbished item from Dell, you receive a 100-day (limited) warranty, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee
Also, take the time to shop around for discounts and promotions, as well as coupons – especially online coupons for computers and other big ticket electronics.
In fact, it’s worth noting here that online couponing is big business in today’s ecommerce world, and you can usually find a discount coupon code for most online purchases, so it’s worth taking the extra couple of minutes to find a saving on whatever you are shopping for.
7. Save on textbooks
According to the College Board, it is estimated that a student studying at college for four years can expect to pay around $1,240 per year on books and other supplies.
Marketplace, Craigslist, and other online second-hand platforms can be a great place to start when it comes to finding some bargains, but you can also save hundreds of dollars by renting your textbooks.
Textbook Rentals, Cheapest Textbooks, and Campus Books are just a few of the helpful sites that specialize in selling used textbooks and renting them out, too.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel extra prepared by splurging on supplies. But, by utilizing a few money saving tips and tricks, you can leave yourself a little more financial wiggle room for spending extra in other areas, including having fun!