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16 Back-to-School Shopping Tips to Optimize Savings

Posted on August 06 2021

16 Back-to-School Shopping Tips to Optimize Savings


If you're a parent, then back-to-school shopping is probably on your mind right now. If not, it will be soon! Back-to-school season is one of the most expensive times of year for many families, and that's why it's important to do what you can to optimize savings. Below are 16 different strategies that will help make back-to-school shopping less stressful and more affordable. The goal here is simple: help parents save money while still getting their kids what they need in time for the new school year.

1. Take an inventory of what you have. Chances are good that you have some of the basics on hand, so take a look at what you already own. This is likely to be much more cost-effective than purchasing the same school supplies again.

2. Determine which supplies can be repurposed. It's not always necessary to buy new binders or backpacks year after year. If you have an old binder or backpack that can be reused, it's a worthwhile investment over buying something new.

3. Take advantage of lifetime warranty repairs on certain brand items like backpacks. If a zipper is broken, for example, you can get it fixed for free, or possibly even replaced, by the company.

4. Check with your child's school before shopping for school supplies. Many teachers post their lists on their school's website to make it easy for parents. In addition, some schools actually provide the basics, so purchasing items without checking first could be a waste of money.

5. Start your shopping list from that point and add all items in order to make sure you don't forget anything. This will also help avoid impulse purchases. If you forget something on your list, it's okay to go back and get it later. This will help ensure that you're not wasting time wandering around stores looking for school supplies.

6. Some items are cheaper online or at different stores than others. Look for "loss leaders" like 10-cent composition notebooks, but keep in mind that other supplies may be more expensive than expected. If you're willing to shop at multiple locations, keep an eye on flyers for sales items and plan accordingly.

7. If saving time is more important to you than catching all the sales, consider shopping early in the summer. You'll avoid empty store shelves and enjoy a more relaxed shopping atmosphere.

8. Look for coupons online before shopping to get deals on backpacks, lunch boxes, or pencil cases with school supplies inside. Coupons can be helpful in bringing down the cost of school supplies, but they're not an excuse to buy something your child won't use just because it's discounted. Be sure that anything you purchase is needed before you put it in your cart.

9. Consider buying in bulk on items you know will be needed for this school year and next. Try our bulk double zipper bags for lunches and to fulfill school supply lists requests.

10. Plan your child's wardrobe in advance and buy clothing during store sales so you get a bargain and beat the back-to-school rush.

11. Shop for clothes at discount stores, resale shops or consignment stores. You can find many clothes that are brand-new or like new. 

12. Buy school supplies from places other than office supply stores.

13. Don't forget electronics. If your child needs a computer, check out deals from major computer manufacturers like Apple, Dell, and Microsoft. Student discounts for software, such as Office or Adobe products, may also be available.

14. Consider buying a portable charger or charging pack if your child is required to use electronics like e-readers or laptops at school.

15. Make sure to factor in your child's lunch needs. Packing lunches from home is a great way to save money all year long. Save money with our eco-friendly PEVA reusable storage bags that are perfect for lunches (just wash and reuse over and over again). Look for lunchboxes with an insulated container for hot or cold items, built-in insulation or ice packs, and snack containers. Or consider making your own ice pack at home with vacuum sealer bags.

16. Don't forget about extracurricular activities. You may need to buy sports equipment such as soccer balls and baseball mitts, musical instruments, or art supplies. Communicate with the club's advisors to find out what's needed. From there, check out garage sales and local thrift stores to find gently used items in good condition at a fraction of the price.


    Back-to-school shopping is stressful and time-consuming, but it doesn't have to be. Take a deep breath, have fun and follow the tips above.

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