Ways to Save on School Supplies

4 Jan

Raysha Duncan Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

School Zone

Photo by: Bidgee

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to buy school supplies, get ready, and re-organized for a new school year. I don’t about you, but this is my favorite time of year! Buying school supplies and getting myself organized for the semester really excites me. I have to watch my excitement though because sometimes it can lead to overspending on supplies.

My biggest tip for saving money on back-to-school supplies is to shop the sales. Even if you think you will find a great deal in the middle of the summer, you should wait because you’ll regret missing out on the extra savings. As the start of the school year approaches, there are tons of deals on school supplies. For example, a lot of the larger office supplies stores have big deals and post them regularly on their websites (i.e. Office Depot and Staples). This past Sunday, many of these companies sent out flyers in the local newspaper. However, I find the easiest way to search for deals is to just use an online search engine. There are even websites and blogs dedicated to listing out the best deals of the week. Follow these and you can save a lot of money.

colored pencils

Photo by: Guerrion Boatto

If you’re not up for hunting around and comparing deals like an extreme couponer, just make sure to go with your gut and compare the prices at the store you’re shopping at. Do you really need the brand name notebook? Is it that much different from the store brand that costs three dollars less? Also compare the price per unit if you’re in a tough situation. You can see how much you save by purchasing the pack of 20 pencils versus the pack of 10 scented pencils (and yes, those do exist). Also, in the world of school supplies, simpler really can be better. For one, it’s much cheaper. And two, you can customize supplies if you really don’t want just a plain blue folder. Decorating your folders yourself sets you apart from the crowd AND it’s much cheaper than the colorful folders at the store.

One of the simplest ways to save money is to not spend money! Just re-use the supplies from previous years. Don’t think you have anything? Check everywhere (in your pencil box, old book bag, and yes even under and in the couch)! You might be surprised by how many pens you have laying around. And girls, check the bottoms of all of your purses, you may have more pens lurking there than you could imagine. The quickest place to check is in your backpack from last year (you should re-

Book Bags

Photo by: Thamizhpparithi Maari

use that too) and see what supplies you have that are still usable.

Be realistic about what you’re buying too. Keep track of what you’re purchasing and make sure you’re not buying excessive amounts of supplies. Notebooks, folders, and pencils can pile up if you’re not careful. And keep in mind, just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Only buy it if you actually need it. You probably have a school supply wish list, but are realistic too. Maybe if you save money on notebooks and pens, you can save up to buy that new tablet.

Do you have any tips to keep in mind when shopping for back to school?

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