How to Save Money when Buying School Supplies

Posted in Saving, School

If you haven’t noticed (or maybe you’re trying to avoid it), its back to school time! If you are heading back to school in September, costs can add up very quickly. Don’t know where to start? Good Housekeeping has a great list for back to school shopping supplies, from three-ring binders to disinfectant wipes. Keep in mind that you might not need everything, so shop according to what you will ACTUALLY use. Below, I have included some of the most common items I purchased during my university career; I hope this helps you when determining what you need this year.


When I began my university career, I thought I needed every single book. I didn’t. Unless your professor says you absolutely need it, I would wait a few weeks before buying them. Even if you do need to buy books, buy used. Otherwise, you will end up with several books on your bookshelf that you are hoping will resell on Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon, when I went into my second year, Amazon became my best resource for buying used books. Visit Amazon to find out if a book is being sold by another student or book supplier. I remember I had an English class that required two large books and they were going for $60 each at the bookstore. I ended up searching on Amazon, and I was able to buy each book for $7! If you can’t find your book on Amazon, find out if other students who took the course last year are selling their books. There was a forum at my university that I could visit, and students would sell their books. Don’t settle for the easiest option. Sometimes if you do a little research, you can end up saving plenty of money.


The amount of lined paper packages in my home office is ridiculous. See my logic at the time was, “10 cents? Well, I should grab a few (several) packages.” It’s been a few years since I’ve left university, and I still have never needed to buy lined paper. Now, you might not need lined paper, but think of that one thing that you always like to buy more of – is it highlighters? Pens? Resist the urge to buy too many! The great thing about back to school sales is that everything is on sale. The bad thing? You might end up buying several items that you don’t actually need. I learned to check what I already have from last year and make a list. This way, when I’m shopping at the store (usually on the weekends, when the sales begin), I only need to visit the sections with the items on my list.


Time for a new laptop? This is a great time to buy it. Visit your student bookstore to find out if they are having any student specials. The other option is to visit RedFlagDeals’ Back to School 2015 page to find out the best tech deals available across the country. RedFlagDeals is great not only for laptops, but I tend to visit the site every week to find the best deals.

I hope these tips and my experience help you with your back to school shopping! Let me know on social media or the comments below – what’s your favourite thing about the back to school season? I hope to hear from you soon!

– Nancy