4 Ways to Save Money on School Supplies This Year

By Alicia Geigel on September 3, 2018

Every summer, the “back to school” commercials roll back around and I giddily do a little dance in my seat. Does anyone else get as excited as I do over this? Let me make myself clear, I don’t necessarily get excited about going back to school, I get more excited about the fact that its the time of the year to shop for new school supplies!

There’s nothing quite like walking into the store and seeing the isles covered in a multitude of fresh, new school supplies. My eyes just light up upon seeing packets of pens, multi-colored highlighters, cute notepads, backpacks, notebooks, folders, you name it! The start of a new school year or semester represents a fresh start and a new chance to learn from previous mistakes and improve yourself!

While I’m sure some of us get super excited about getting new school supplies, something that I know I don’t look forward to is their price tag. School supplies can be absolutely outrageous around this time of year, in part due to the fact that large companies know there will be an influx of parents and teachers buying bulk supplies right now. No one likes to spend a lot of money on things that, for the most part, will either be thrown away or fall apart by the end of the year.

In a comprehensive look into this phenomenon, Ben Popken of NBC writes that the supply list for an elementary school student costs about $650. Additionally, Popken notes, “A middle-school student might run $1,000; up from $525. And sending a fully equipped high-schooler off to class can cost nearly $1,500 — compared to $800 just 10 years ago. All together that’s an average of about $1,000 — nearly the same as the average U.S. monthly mortgage payment.”

Nearly the same as the average U.S. monthly mortgage payment? You may have had to do a double take when reading that sentence, I know I did! When it comes to school supplies, we should be able to get all that we need without breaking our budget and draining our wallets. Are you a parent or student that is dreading handing over the money to get school supplies this year? Wanting to save a little bit of money? Check out these four ways to save money on school supplies that will not only save you the stressful shopping trip, but also add money to your piggy bank in the long run!

school, supplies, pencil, pen, scissors, eraser

Image via Pexels

1. Start at Home: How many of us get supplies that we already have at home? I know I’m guilty of doing this and I’m sure you are too. Before making the trip out to stores to drain your wallet, check around the house and make an inventory of everything you have already! Perhaps it’s a working calculator, or half a package of highlighters- though things like these may seem small, checking beforehand will save you some big bucks in the long run!

2. Start Shopping Sooner Than Later: For some of us, its human nature to want to do things at the last minute. School supply shopping may seem like a task that isn’t too serious and something that you can put off until the week before school, but for the sake of your sanity and your wallet, don’t do it. Shop at least a month (or more) before school starts for supplies, not only will there be more in stock, but you’ll also find yourself saving money by comparing prices and shopping around for the best deals.

school, supplies, pen, pencils, colors, eraser, scissors

Image via Pexels

3. Check for Sales and Shop Around: Just about every big store is going to be offering some sort of back to school deals and some are definitely better than others, so check your newspaper ads and online for the best coupons and deals! For school supplies, I found that I preferred Walmart and Target for their low prices on certain supplies; for instance, Target has their own brand of 10 count colored pencils, markers, and crayons for just 50 cents each! Comparing prices and shopping around for the best deal is one great and simple way to save some money before school starts.

4. Stock Up: Though it may be confusing, spending more money now will actually save you some in the future. Stock up on supplies that you know you’ll either be needing more of or that you may lose sometime during the year now while supplies are cheaper and on sale, rather than later. Erin Huffstetler of the Balance backs up this claim, stating, “This will save you money, and a trip to the store. Just be sure to put them somewhere you’ll be able to find them later. You won’t save any money if you have to go out and buy everything again.”

Shopping for school supplies can be stressful and overwhelming both on your mind and in your wallet. No one likes to spend hundreds of dollars on school supplies, however, if you follow these simple tips, you’ll save yourself a lot of stressful shopping trips and put a little bit of extra change in your pocket! As always, good luck!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | photographer | food blogger if you want to learn more about me, visit my profile and check out my articles!

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