It’s back to school season, which means it’s time to stock up on clothes and school supplies. School shopping is an annual expense that’s inevitable. But you can avoid overspending on back to school with these tips.
This might sound obvious, but it’s not. Think of all the times you’ve purchased an item only to return home and find that you already have it. Or in the case of laundry dryer sheets, you already have a batch of one hundred that you haven’t opened. Moral of the story, find out what you already have so you don’t waste money on duplicates.
Start by making a list of everything you need. Then, look at the school supplies you already have and cross those items off your list. Once your list is fine-tuned, you can go to the store confident that you’re only spending money on the items you need. >> Check out these other great ways to save.
Whether you’re an adult shopping for a child or you’re gearing up to return to college, doing some research to determine if the school will provide you with free supplies and resources will be helpful.
This tip is especially true if you’re returning to college. If you’re moving into a dorm, you’ll be provided with your basic necessities including your bed, desk and chair. But some schools might give you even more. Find out if your room will be equipped with a fridge or microwave before you buy your own.
If you’ve already finalized your schedule, you can ask your professors for a class syllabus before your first day of class. On your syllabus, you’ll see which books you’ll need to purchase for the semester. You can rent or buy your books, new or used. You can also buy used books from former students. Don’t forget to look online for a free PDF version of your textbooks as well. Explore your options so you can make the most affordable choice. Books are one of the most expensive requirements for college, usually only second to your laptop.
If a laptop is completely out of your price range, believe it or not, that’s ok. You can use your campus computer lab to complete assignments, study, print, and scan documents. If you plan to save by not buying a laptop, be sure to take a manageable course load and create a realistic schedule that will give you ample time in the computer lab.
If you’re a parent shopping for your child, visit the school’s website to see if there’s a student or parent resource section. There, you may be able to find some clues suggesting if your child will be provided with any free school supplies.
Every year, humanitarians and organizations, like Operation Homefront, host school supply drives for children who need help. If you’re having trouble paying for school supplies, there are many ways to find assistance.
Operation Homefront hosts the Back-to-School Brigade each year to provide school supplies to children from military families nationwide. >> Find an an event near you.
You can find flyers for nearby school supply drives online. You can also contact the school to find out if they know of any events in the near future. Saving money on school supplies will allow you to have more money leftover when school begins, so you’ll be prepared for the financial responsibilities that come with being a student.
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