As the summer is winding down, its time to start gearing up for back to school and everything that goes along with preparing for this special time of year for students. In this day and age, back to school shopping for school supplies is so very different from years past. Items are high end, and many things are very expensive.
So what is a parent or student to do about some of the associated costs for back to school shopping? One smart thing to start with is to make a basic plan for your shopping, and to access what you really need for the school year. Try to separate the “wants” from the “needs”. The plan doesn’t have to be elaborate, but smart enough to make sure that you the necessary items are the items that are purchased, and avoiding extraneous supplies.
Another good tip is to divide items on the list into groups that would definitely be needed for the start of the school year and also into things that could possibly be purchased later in the year or semester in order to save money. For instance, if you are a college student, you may not need to purchase all of your books for every class in the beginning few weeks of school. Bounce your syllabus against your book list to determine what books that may be able to purchased within the few next weeks or even months. This trick may also work for some high schools where book purchases are required for the curriculum.
A third good tip is for shopping electronics, like computers, laptops, and tablets. Try to make the determination of what best fits your needs. Sure, a laptop may have more flexibility when doing school work, but the cost may be prohibitive. In this case, consider a desktop, or if a laptop is deemed as necessary, considering sharing a laptop with a sibling, buddy, or roommate and also think about sharing the cost. For college students, many campuses offer rentals of laptops and tablets for the school year, and this could dramatically cut down on costs rather than purchasing equipment outright.
One last, but big tip for students…shopping around is so much easier and offers many benefits of saving. There are tons of coupons out on the internet that can be found on sites like Retailmenot. Another good thing to do is to sign up for accounts that sell school and office supplies like Office Depot, who sends out several emails per month with tons of great coupons, discounts, and savings on a regular basis. As for books, Amazon can also be an excellent option for comparison shopping and speedy deliveries in case you run into a time crunch and need a few books in a relatively fast period of time.