How to Save Money on School Supplies

Most people underestimate how much they will spend on back-to-school supplies.

Most people underestimate how much they will spend on back-to-school supplies.

School supplies may be costing families more than they think. In a voluntary user poll conducted by USAA, people underestimated how much the average American family spends on back-to-school shopping for children in kindergarten through 12th grade by over $100.00. In fact, families will spend an average of $606.00 this year on back-to-school supplies, shoes, clothing and electronics.

But you don’t need to shell out that much this fall. Here are some ideas to help your family save money on back-to-school products. Not only are these tips good for your bank account, many of them are good for the environment too.

1. Pull out last year’s supplies.

Dig out all those school supplies from last year that are still usable. Test pens and markers to make sure they haven’t dried out. Don’t scorn hand-me-downs and put your clothing budget on a diet.

2. Conserve paper.

Put the paper from half-used notebooks in a binder, and encourage students to use both sides when taking notes. Recycle folders from the previous by making new labels, you can encourage your students to get creative and collage new covers for last year’s plastic binders.

3. Invest now, save later.

For items that students won’t outgrow, like backpacks, it’s better to buy a higher quality product. In the long run, you’ll save if you don’t have to replace it at the beginning of each school year. When it comes to buying clothes, don’t be a fashion victim. Instead, buy pieces that students will be able to wear next year if it still fits.

4. Look for used books.

If your school doesn’t provide textbooks, look for used books or consider using a textbook rental service. Chegg has lots of books used in high schools for rent.

5. Make a list before you go to the store.

After you’ve inventoried what your kids already have, take a look at the school’s list of required supplies. If you know what you need before you go to the store, you’ll be less likely to buy unnecessary items.

6. Buy in bulk.

Places like Sam’s Club, Costco and other “big box” retailers often have great back-to-school specials. Just keep in mind how much you really need.

7. Check out Discount School Supply

For craft supplies, you’ll want to check at They partner with companies like Elmers and Crayola to provide significant savings. They also have lots of products for families that home school.

Also Read:

5 School Supplies Every High School Student Needs

Discount School Supply Makes Education Affordable

Save Money in College by Buying Used Textbooks

3 Responses to “How to Save Money on School Supplies”

  1. Blanche says:

    I challenge the kids I tutor to notice what factors help them be efficient (on their own terms), like not losing homework assignments, or keeping track of when tests are going to be. They invariably find that they have tried to take too many notebooks, folders, and dividers at the beginning of the school year. By the time we pare it down, we realize we have wasted a lot of money and made things too complicated. Now I have the younger ones listen to the older ones: they learn it’s cool not to overdo it.

  2. Printable Coupons says:

    Great tips. I’ve been doing these as well. It’s amazing how many things you really don’t need that are already around the house. Don’t forget the list and if possible, don’t bring the kids. Use coupons too..

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