Back to School Shopping Hacks

By Alyssa Laffitte on September 7, 2019

It is officially back to school season! This time of year comes with hectic, yet exciting, back to school shopping. Buying school supplies can be expensive, especially when you are a college student on a tight budget. For that reason, we will discuss back to school shopping hacks in this post. 

Bring a shopping list

Back to school shopping can make you so excited that you might want to buy more than you need. (Seeing those rows upon rows of pretty notebooks makes me want to buy them all!) Writing up a “back to school shopping list” before you shop will keep you on track so you only buy what you need. For that reason, you should make a list and only buy items that are on the list. If you don’t know what to put on your shopping list, do an online search for sample back to school shopping lists. These samples will be a helpful guide to make sure you buy only what you need.

Re-use what you can from last year

Another important back to school shopping hack is to re-use items from last year. Just as you shouldn’t buy multiple pretty notebooks when you only need one, you shouldn’t buy new things if they are still in good condition from last year. For example, you don’t need to spend your money on a new backpack every year if the one you used last year is still in good condition. Before you go shopping, take an inventory of the items you still have from last year and determine which items are still in good condition. This way, you won’t spend money re-buying items you already have.

Shop around for sales and deals at multiple stores

Back to school is a good time to shop around. Check coupons and sales at different stores to determine which one has the best deal. You can usually find a store’s sales and special deals on their website, so be sure to check them out. Shopping around is a great way to save money while “back to school shopping”.

Shop at dollar or thrift stores

Similarly, don’t limit your shopping to big department stores. You might find better deals at smaller stores like a dollar store or thrift store. They might not have a big selection, but they could have high-quality basic school supplies like notebooks, pens, and paper for low prices. You might find some great deals at stores you wouldn’t typically go “back to school shopping” at, so don’t exclude these stores when you shop around.

Shop online

Again, don’t limit yourself when shopping around for your school supplies. Consider online retailers, too! Online retailers usually have many items in bulk at a low price. It’s likely you will find everything you need at a reasonable price. However, remember that when you shop online, you might not receive your items for a couple of days, so if you want to shop online, do it a couple days in advance. You also should consider any shipping costs. But before you place your online order, compare the online prices to in-store prices to ensure maximum savings. In other words, shop around and compare offers, even for online retailers, and go for the best one!

Use price matching

One of the benefits of shopping around is you can use price matching! Many big department stores could “price match”, meaning if a competing store has a lower price on the same item, the store will charge you the lower price. All you need to do is bring in the competitor’s ad showing the lower price. This is a good option if you want to do all your shopping at one store but find a better deal on certain items at another store. Keep in mind, not all stores offer this on all items. Price matching is usually offered for only certain items, and for a limited amount of time. Still, it’s worth doing some research on your store’s price matching policy to see if you can save money!

Use student discounts

A big perk of being a student is student discounts; definitely take advantage of it when you shop for your school supplies. Many stores don’t often advertise their student discounts, so always ask if a store has a discount! You are likely missing out on big savings by not using your discount. This is especially true if you are making a big purchase on tech or electronics since stores that sell them often offer student discounts around back to school time. Moral of the story: don’t assume a store doesn’t have a student discount; always ask.

You don’t have to break your budget this back to school season! With these tips, you can save money and buy exactly what you need for the upcoming school year. Best of luck in the new school year!

23, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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