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For People Tired of Overspending on School Supplies

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.

Overspending on School Supplies

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.

Putting a Halt to the Overspending Habit

In America today, it is easier than ever to spend money.  The average American, when all is said and done, spends thirty-three percent more than what they make.  This is a scary statistic: regularly spending more than they earn, citizens of the United States pull their country into even more debt.

Of course, some debts are unavoidable.  College and medical expenses, which make up the bulk of American dues, are just a few examples.  However overspending, the simple act of buying what you cannot afford, comprises a percentage that is nearly as large as its predecessors.  While expensive items might make you feel good for a while, they are no substitute for genuine happiness.

Stop The Overspending Habit

Live Skinny, Smile Fat

Studies have shown that people who live frugally are happier, have lower blood pressure, and tend to “want” less than the average spender.  Some solutions to putting a stop to your overspending and living a happier life are:

Finding frugal fun

It is no secret that people who wish to save cash tend to go out less, at least in the traditional sense.  However, their social lives can still blossom: with all of the entertainment options that can be accessed from a home, private gatherings with family and friends become an ideal choice.  There is also a wide selection of outdoor activities that can be passed for little to no funds, such as biking or walking on a local nature trail, swimming in a lake, and having a picnic in the park.  While the above might still require some dough, it is far less than you would pay for dinner at a restaurant and a movie.

Knowing what you need

It is common for individuals who overspend to have a blurred conception of what they want and what they truly need.  If you are trying to stop overspending, it would be best to write out the desires that are currently on your mind, and deciding what you can and cannot live without.  In decreasing spending through the eradication of useless impulse buys, you can de-clutter your house, your bills, and your mind.

Plucking the plastic from your purse

Most historic overspenders are customers who, at all times, have a credit card or some other form of “instant cash” on hand.  The slide of the plastic, reassuring for some, can create surprises at the end of the month.  It has been proven that if you, before making a purchase, decide to delay your decision by a few days, you will be less likely to spend unnecessary cash.  If you are apt to overspending at the grocery or at local retailers, try stopping by the bank or an ATM so you can pay with real, old-fashioned, paper dollars.

A Credit Conundrum

As we saw above, most overspending comes from credit and debit card use.  The fact that you cannot see what you’re spending is a large contributor to the dilemma, as you have no physical basis for your debts.  While using cash-only is a guaranteed method of spending less, it can make some feel insecure that their money is “out there in the open.”  If you are dead-set on using your credit card or checking account, some wise pointers for ending your overspending are:

Limiting your budget

If you’re using a debit card, make sure that you only have enough money for your trip to the grocery or night on the town.  Knowing that your funds are not endless is a great way to keep your spending in check, even if you do intend to use them.  Being aware of your money can, when your bills show up in your postbox or email, give you the satisfaction of lower balances and reduced debt.

Sharing your goals

Since social media is now a prime mode of communication for anyone over the age of ten, it would not be a bad idea to post a status update or Tweet that you are trying to reduce your overspending.  It is surprising how much support you can receive, even for something as personal as patching that hole in your credit.  Also, please be assured that admitting your errors is not shameful: it is a step in the right direction.

Steering clear of the store

Another easy way to prevent overspending is to get away from the shops and begin spending time in places where you are not tempted to engage in bank-breaking habits.  Take yourself off of retailer mailing lists, as well as websites that send you that “monthly deal.”  New clothes can be essential for change every one in a while, however meaningful friendships have the potential to lift your mood more than that pair of jeans everyone is dying to buy.


Now, you hopefully have a guide that can help you stop your overspending habits and give you the worry-free life you are seeking.

How to Avoid Overspending and Create the Right Spending Style

You will never get out of debt if overspending is your only style. Most people know that learning how to avoid overspending takes self-discipline. But it can, literally, pay off when you reach certain financial goals and aspirations. One of these five spending styles can teach you how to avoid overspending in 2014. Find the one that is right for you and stick to it.

Avoid Overspending

The needs-only spender

A great way to learn how to avoid overspending in 2014 is to focus solely on your needs. Create on honest list of your needs and wants. Then only spend money on your ‘needs’ list items. This list should include rent or mortgage, electricity, groceries and credit card debt. Do not spend one cent on ‘wants’. People already in debt will best learn how to avoid overspending with this style. You will erase debt faster and stop, or at least slow down, discretionary spending. This cash diet will also help you save for retirement and a child’s education.

Personal avoid overspending victory

Florida teacher Nysa Williams is a needs-only spender. She only buys when the money is in hand. No matter how tempting it is to buy something online. For Nysa, no money means no purchases. This is the style we are most likely to see on ‘The Suze Orman Show’ or ‘Til’ Debt Do Us Part.’

Using technology to avoid overspending

The ‘in the envelope’ spender

Here you learn how to avoid overspending by withdrawing money from an ATM machine once or twice a month. Label a few envelopes with words like rent, groceries and gifts to store that budgeted money. If you have a gift budget of $200, keep that exact amount in an envelope labeled ‘gifts.’ Yes this is an outdated system. But almost 40% of American citizens still follow this method. So it still has serious value.

The no-sweat spender

This style dictates shopping with credit cards only after you take care of financial obligations. You learn how to avoid overspending by checking your account once and deciding ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ You should probably build a financial cushion first before adopting this spending style. Start with an automatic savings account and by paying your bills regularly. Focus on your real financial responsibilities, like rent and groceries. Then you will have more room in the credit card to buy other things. Like a new television, clothes or even a vacation.

The E-spender

Online has become so popular because many people are too busy for shopping in physical stores. This is a good spending for people who do not have a lot of time for money management and busy parents. One of whom is Mary, a single mother and an event organizer.

Mary is always on the lookout for discounts and free shipping offers. Another way Mary gets discounts, buy her groceries in bulk. My parents and sister have also done this for years. It helps decrease the number of trips to the grocery store you need to take. Ask anyone, it is a great way to learn how to avoid overspending. When online shopping at Amazon, I only pay attention to free shipping qualified items. If buying a gift, my budget is typically between $25-40. Of course, I am going to spend more money on my niece than my cousin Addison. But after taxes, I do not care if the final price is, for example, $42.50. Fortunately, I can handle that kind of price.

The rewards-happy spender

This spending style refers to those of us who enjoy using reward cards for extra points. I am guilty of this style. This is particularly the case at beauty stores and coffee shops. I have done the ‘buy ten drinks, get the eleventh drink free’ routine for years. But this style is only for those with no debts and a good credit store. A good way to learn how to avoid overspending in this case is keep tabs on expenses so you do not go overboard.

A very common tip is to always pay more than the minimum on credit card debt. It is okay if the payment is only two or three dollars more than the minimum due. I always do this. I also pay early sometimes.

It is hard to learn how to avoid overspending. Especially if you have spent a long time doing just that. Many over-spenders have to re-learn the lesson numerous times before they are ready to get it right. You have to want it desperately enough to make it right. May sound harsh, but the only person who can really help you is you. The problem started with you. So the solution needs to start with you. Of course, the people around you can cheer you on, offer support and hold you accountable for sip-ups. But the real work is yours.