How to Save Money on Back to School Shopping

By Victoria Robertson on September 14, 2021

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It’s that time of year again — back-to-school shopping has finally graced us once again with its presence. And as such, our wallets are likely already screaming for help. Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be this crazy challenging (and expensive experience), however. Instead, let your shopping work for you by following these tips.

Photo Via Pixabay

Inventory What You Own

The first step in back-to-school shopping, unfortunately, isn’t the actual shopping component. Instead, it’s the importance of inventorying what you currently own to ensure you can afford to bring anything new home.

For instance, if you already have 10+ pairs of jeans, and each one of them fits, you probably can allocate that money elsewhere when it comes to your wardrobe. Alternatively, if you are sorely lacking in school supplies, you should probably spread the wealth in that general direction. Basically, take a look at what you have, write down what you need, and then you can always throw in a couple “just for fun” items in the end.

Set a Budget

The next step in back-to-school shopping is setting a budget for yourself that you can adhere to throughout your shopping experience. This budget should include a realistic goal and a hard, drop-dead number that you can’t go above.

From here, you can allocate your budget first to what you need most, then, if budget allows, you’ll have leftovers through which you can buy any of those extra, nice-to-have items that you were eyeing. To use the same example from above, adding one more pair of jeans that you really can’t walk away from should only be considered if budget allows AFTER you’ve grabbed everything that you actually need.

Split Your Shopping in Half

To provide you with an alternative option if the budget is a little too tight to get everything that’s on your shopping list, you can always split your shopping in half to accommodate the full school year, rather than trying to get everything done at once.

If you go this route, be sure to map out what you’ll need immediately and what you can live without for a semester. By using this method, you’re still budgeting appropriately, you’re just slightly delaying the purchase of some items to accommodate it.

Pay Attention to Deals

Obviously, shopping can be very pricey, which is why setting a budget is necessary. That said, getting every item on your list may not be possible if you’re not paying attention to the deals available to you.

In other words, if you’re not shopping like you’re on a strict budget, you’re not doing it right. This time of year, nearly everyone is having back-to-school sales featuring coupons, free shipping, and other value-added benefits you should take advantage of. So, guard your email closely and pay attention when those ads pop up. Additionally, research which companies offer student discounts and take advantage!

Return What You Need To

Okay, so the shopping is done and now you’re at home with bag upon bag of new items. While it’s probably your immediate reaction to put things away and in their place, take a moment to really inventory what you’ve purchased, and don’t take the tags off of anything.

Give it a day or two and return to your spoils to determine if there’s anything you don’t think you’ll need and/or use. There’s no shame in returning items, and you’ll actually end up with more than you actually need rather than leaving an item you liked in the store, but don’t at home, hanging in the closet for a year before eventually tossing it into the garbage.

Consider the Actual Usage of Something

As mentioned above, when shopping, you should really consider whether or not you would actually use an item. For instance, that summer dress may look really cute, and sure, there’s probably one event coming up that you may wear it to, but will you really? And would you ever wear it again after that?

When shopping, you should consider the actual usage of a belonging prior to purchasing it. If you’re not likely to use it after you leave, it’s probably best to leave it behind and buy something that’s more your speed.

The back-to-school shopping craze has been costing everyone money for far too long. The truth is, you can always spread your shopping out throughout the year to be a little more practical with your money.

Still, the desire for some new items isn’t lost on us, so in that regard, it’s important to keep your back-to-school shopping in check but to still enjoy the experience. These helpful tips will not only keep you on track but will also ensure you get the most bang for your buck out of the experience and actually enjoy it in the meantime.

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