Back to school supplies can be expensive. Some research trends list the average cost of school supplies for students from kindergarten to 12th grade is about $700. Millennials say they expect to spend over $900 this year on school supplies, including electronic devices. So if you want to save money on your back to school expenditures, you are not alone. From buying 3 ring binders bulk to clipping coupons and hunting online for deals, you can spend less on these supplies.
Tips for Saving Money on School Supplies:
Buy as much as you can in bulk. There are certain items that you know you are going to use a lot of for the duration of you or your child’s education. Buy 3 ring binders bulk, pens, paper, notebooks and the like. It is not like these items are perishable.
Take stock of what leftover items you have from last year. Maybe you bought a ton of paper. You can use that again. Maybe you already bought 3 ring binders bulk. Have no fear, these items are still useable. Keep unused items in storage bins in your home. While the school supplies you purchase are not perishable, they are susceptible to mold and dust. If all that paper you bought last year gets wet, it is useless. Buy plastic bins to protect your items and label the bins with what you have inside, this will make your life a lot easier. You will be able to keep track of what you have and know where you have it.
Look for online deals, promotions and sales. A lot of online retailers will let you sign up for rewards points and will let you know when certain items are on sale. Buy your school supplies like numbered dividers, packages of spiral notebook graph paper, small 3 ring binders or small binder rings when you see they are on sale. You do not have to wait until the school year is about to begin to buy what you need. There might be sales right after a school year ends so look for those when you can. No kid is going to want to think about the start of the school year in September the day after summer break starts but you can get cheaper supplies then.
Make a list of what your child wants and needs. Go over the list with your child. If you can get a list from the school or teacher for what they expect students to have, that is a great way to make sure your child is ready for the year. Set a budget for your supplies and remember that not everything on the list is a “must have.” Your kids may want certain items and claim they need them “because everyone will have them.” Set priorities with your kids. This gives you an opportunity to make this more of a learning experience than just a shopping trip.
Remind your kids that they are recycling when they reuse items. The phrase is “reuse, reduce, recycle,” right? Many kids these days are more environmentally savvy than past generations. Use that to show that some of their items from last year are still good and tell them they are being “good to the earth” by reusing pens, rulers and all those 3 ring binders bulk.
Sometimes it pays to buy the brand names. Sometimes the items you buy should be the name brands and not the bargain versions. For a lot of things, there is little difference between what you get at the dollar store or at a major retailer but sometimes buying better quality will save you money in the long run. Name brand crayons, makers and paints are more durable. They last longer and for pens, a leaky pen will cost more than just replacing the pen. One spiral bound graph paper notebook may be the same as the next but for other items, the brand matters.
Ask about lending programs. Some school districts now have programs through their libraries that lend out equipment like calculators and other devices. Ask if your school participates in that sort of program. That can save you a decent amount of money.