How to Save on Textbooks and Other School Supplies

With the school year approaching, it may be worth your while to get a jump on buying school supplies. Many stores, both online and traditional brick and mortar stores, offer remarkable savings on back-to-school materials. The purchase of textbooks and other school supplies isn’t cheap, and keeping your eyes pealed for bargains is a wise thing to do. Following are a few tips on how save on textbooks and other school supplies.

Buy What They Need, Not What They Want

Keeping a lid on spending for back to school supplies isn’t always easy. In this day and age of fads where every child simply has to have the latest and greatest technological toy, or wear just the right ‘in thing’ because everyone else is, it’s not easy shopping for children. It really doesn’t matter whether they’re entering kindergarten or high school; there is pressure on both parents and students to fit in. Unless you’re independently wealthy, that may not always be possible. There may come a time when you say enough is enough and decide that you’re only going to buy what they need and not necessarily what they want. Find out exactly what supplies your child will actually need for their studies. It may be worthwhile to call the school and find out what supplies will be needed for the upcoming year.

You May Already Have What You Need

Before rushing out and spending a ton of money on pens, pencils, and notebooks, take a look around the house. You may have some of these supplies squirreled away somewhere. If you do, there won’t be any need to spend more money; your child can make use of what’s on hand. You may want to consider contacting your friends and relatives whose children are through with school and find out if they have any unused supplies.

Textbooks Don’t Wear Out

Just because your oldest child is finished with their ninth grade math book, it doesn’t mean the book is worn out. If you hang onto it for a year or two, your next oldest child can use it and save the price of a new one. Unless the textbook is deemed to be outdated, there is no need to replace it. You may also benefit from a trip to the local used book store. All those old textbooks go somewhere, and the one you need may be waiting on their shelf. Recycling works on many levels.

Free School Supplies

Contact your school and find out if there are any programs that are offering free school supplies. Many civic minded organizations collect gently used or new school supplies for distribution to families that need them. If you qualify as low income, you could benefit from their largesse. Some of these supplies come from overstocking by businesses, which then donate the items to non-profit organizations, such as your local school.

Make Your Own

When it comes to saving money, nothing beats the do-it-yourself approach. In order to save money on items such as backpacks, laptop cases, or pen and pencil cases you can improvise and make suitable items using material you most likely already have on hand. You can use an old blanket or something similar and construct a backpack. If it looks homemade, or a little too plain, you can jazz it up a little by adding your own personal decorations. If your children are young, you can make a game of it and have the child decorate their own backpack.

Set a Limit on Spending

Before you begin your back-to-school shopping, it would be sensible to set a spending limit. Once you reach your limit the shopping trip is over. Doing this will force you look for bargains so you don’t simply buy the first thing you come across in order to get the shopping trip over with.

Clip Coupons and Watch Sale Ads

Watch the newspaper closely as the school year approaches. Most stores, both online and brick and mortar, offer tremendous savings on back to school supplies. Keep your eyes open for deals on just the material you need. Keep in mind that buying something just because it’s on sale isn’t really saving you money if you don’t actually need it.

Guest post from Pat Singer. Pat writes about accredited online colleges for

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