School supplies can be expensive. Never mind all the Lisa Frank goodies of our youth—kids today need stuff like laptops and more. Here’s how to save a few bucks on back-to-school shopping.
Assemble a group of friends. Or gather a group on Facebook. Or even find a group of like-minded parents through your kids’ school. Call it Team School Supplies and use it to better leverage these next tips.
Buy in Bulk
Buying hundreds of crayons or a banker’s box of printer paper is a lot for one family. But not if you split the costs and savings with Team School Supplies. And if you’re buying some PPE for school (think masks, gloves, sanitizer, etc.) then consider buying that in bulk too.
You may have bought a box of 100 pencils last year and you’ve only gone through 10. Meanwhile, your sister’s family is awash with notebooks and loose leaf thanks to a connection in the paper industry. And your buddy down the road has 20 or so crayons thanks to his crayon-obsessed kid who got nothing but more crayons for Christmas. Everyone has too much of some stuff and not enough of the rest, so start trading. You can even do a big school supply swap day with Team School Supplies or set up your own Facebook community group.
Tap Into Your Inner Marie Kondo & Scour Your House
Here’s a good thing about clearing out all that old house stuff that doesn’t bring you joy: there are probably lots of old pens, pencils, electronics, and other miscellaneous school supplies kicking around that you’ve forgotten about.
Don’t Ignore Second-Hand
Lots of kids need laptops and other expensive electronics, but do they really need new ones? You can scour the second-hand sites (Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist, etc.) for gently used laptops, or you can check your local computer supply store or computer repair store. They may have refurbished models or advice on where is best to buy.
Visit the Dollar Store
Brand name stationary isn’t the way to save money. Instead, get inexpensive stuff from the dollar store. In fact, go to the dollar store first—you might be surprised at the variety on offer.
See which stores around you offer price matching and then take advantage. Typically, you’ll just need to show a flyer or advertisement to customer service and they’ll hook you up.
Use Student Discounts
Google the name of the company you’re thinking of buying from with the phrase “student discount.” You might be surprised and pleased to see that companies such as Apple, Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and more offer student pricing. And if your student is off to university, consider getting them a SPC card, which gets them access to discounts at dozens of places. You can get discounts on footwear, clothing, electronics, entertainment, books, bags, and more.