For manyof us, the back to school season is like an annual visit from an old friend that we know is going to be lots of fun, but will also cost us a bunch of money to take them out on the town and keep them entertained. In the same way, while you may be looking forward to the start of school and getting back into the swing of college life, shopping for it is sure to cost a pretty penny.
Starting the new school year is like the beginning of any other year, and below we’ve assembled a list of 5 smart tactics for minimizing the cost of your back-to-school shopping. All it takes is a little planning ahead and some smart shopping tactics to see some major savings this semester.
Knowing what classes you’ll be taking in the coming semester is a key component of developing an effective back-to-school shopping plan. First, how many credits you take will drastically affect how much you have to pay for tuition, but also what textbooks, lab fees and other equipment you’ll need going into the new school year. It’s better to know early and plan for what you need to buy than purchasing it all at the last minute, and usually at a premium.
While they may be irritating to put together, shopping lists are the first line of defense in keeping your costs low. Without one it’s far too easy to lose track of the essentials and make extra purchases that you may want, but don’t necessarily need. To put together an effective shopping list, you’ll need to take inventory of what supplies you already have, and from there list the things you’ll need for the upcoming semester. It may seem simple, but it’ll keep you focused onjust the essentials when you arrive at the store.
Showing up to the first day of class with a stylish new book bag or fancy new laptop is always tempting, but the truth is that buying new always costs more than buying used, and often there isn’t a noticeable difference in quality. Good quality used supplies aren’t hard to find, either. Try used book stores for textbooks, and check your local thrift shops, pawn shops, and sites like Decluttr, Letgo, and eBay for other bargains on your school supplies.
Whether it’s a payday loan or a car title loan, funding your education with emergency cash can be a necessity at times. These loans can be invaluable when classes are starting and your student loan hasn’t come through yet, or if you need to cover the expense of your books and other supplies for a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to do whatever it takes to stay on track in school, because even the expense of a short-term loan is much cheaper than setting your future back another semester.
Sales can be both a blessing and a curse when shopping for back-to-school supplies. Each year there will be some that save you money and some that entice you to buy things you don’t need. The trick to not overspending on sale items is to stick to the shopping list that you make before hitting the stores. If the item that’s on sale is on your list, then it’s a good way of saving money, even if it may require some extra effort to get to the right store. But if it isn’t on the list, no matter how tempting or good the sale is, ignore the items you don’t need.