With the end of summer fast approaching, everyone is getting ready for school. That means a trip to the store to begin stocking up on school supplies. Before you start spending your money, make sure you know what is needed for school supplies, and how much you are going to be spending. Huffington Post shared a stat about the average cost that is spent on school supplies for students in grades k-12, in the 2014 school year, and that number reached $634.78 per child, and for college students it is higher. Here are some simple things that could help you save money this school year.
Make A Budget
With the tons of crayons and rows of paper it is easy to feel dumbfounded. To help combat the unnecessary costs go to the store with a plan of what you need to purchase, and with how much you want to spend. By putting a plan and budget in place before heading out, you will have an easier time sticking to your budget.
Most schools and classes give a supply list out before the school year begins. Read over the list with a pen in hand and check off which items are the most important and which ones are secondary. Once you have that, set out a limit that you want to spend on each item or category. A big cost is school clothes, so set out a budget right from the start so you don’t spend more than you want on new clothing.
Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What do I feel is a reasonable and comfortable amount to spend on the item?
- Can I purchase this at a different store at a lower cost?
- Is this an essential item?
Explore the Different Options Available To You
Shopping at different stores can save money. It may not be as easy as doing all of your shopping in one place, but the money you save makes it worth it. Even small savings can add up to big money. When shopping at a one stop gets all type of store, it is important to understand that you are paying the price for convenience. That means it is your responsibility to consider the difference between cost and time if you decide to visit different stores. A good way to accomplish making the choice follow some these ideas.
Use the Dollar Stores
One item that is always needed is notebooks, and even the cheapest ones are expensive. The dollar stores save you money by carrying off brand or off color school supplies at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, dollar stores are great for stockpiling essentials such as pens and pencils
Reach Out To Your Network
Get together with other families and see what can be passed down to other kids, or shared between your kids. Uniforms can be passed on to other kids when your kids have moved on. Another added bonus of discussing school supplies with other families is you could discover new ways to save or places to shop from the others.
Use Online Marketplaces Such As Craigslist.
Craigslist is a used goods haven for shoppers, and you can even find school supplies! Since kids grow so quickly, things like clothing and backpacks need to be replaced and buying this items used can save you a lot of money. Some other sites for online shopping include ebay or recycler.
Repurpose or Reuse Materials
Getting rid of excess stuff is important but be careful when it comes to ditching school supplies. Be on the watch for supplies that can be reused the next school year. To help you stay organized keep a box for storing new and used school supplies in so that you can always take a quick inventory of what you have.
Buy Second Hand Books or E-Versions
One of the most expensive things that college students have to buy is textbooks. In a single semester students face a cost of $200 or more for each textbook they need to purchase. Students should consider whether or not their schedule and field of study would allow for using an older version of the text since these are cheaper than new texts. Some great online sites for buying used textbooks are Chegg and AbeBooks. Additionally when you are finished with your textbooks you can turn them into money by selling them on these same sites.
Finally Prioritizing Quality
There are items that will be well used up by the end of the school year. This is where prioritizing the quality of an item comes in. For example by spending more on something like a backpack that will last 4 years is a better choice than buying a cheaper backpack that is low in quality and will need to be replaced year after year.