From school supplies to dorm essentials, stocking up on supplies for a new school year can strain any budget. Consider these simple back-to-school shopping tips to help you plan smart and cut costs.
1. Take Inventory
First thing’s first, do a sweep of your home and collect all of your current school supplies. You might be amazed at the number of forgotten notebooks, pencils, markers and random materials that you find hidden away in a drawer or in last year’s backpack.
2. Separate the wants from the needs
Now that you’ve collect the items already on hand, use this to create a list of wants and needs. This list will help you to distinguish what items are essential for the upcoming school year and what items you can purchase following the first day back to school; purchase the needs first and wants later.
3. Compare Prices
Almost every major store offers Back-to-School sales. The trick is to find a few places that have the most items on your list of supplies needed for the best prices. Cross-check big brands with your local stores to find which locations are offering the best prices for the most value.
4. Buy Basics in Bulk
You know you’ll need paper, glue, pencils and more throughout the entire school year, so keep your eyes open because in the weeks following back-to-school shopping, most retailers will slash the prices. Stock up on the essentials at reduced prices and keep them on hand for multiple school years in a row, saving you time and money in the long run.
5. Store and Stash
Now that you’ve completed your shopping and have your supplies divvied up, you just might have an overflow of extras and that’s okay! After you’ve stocked up, find a place in your home to store these items throughout the year. You’ll thank yourself later when you have a last-minute need for more school supplies.