(This is a guest article by Roger Elmore*)
We students tend to live on very tight budgets. Needless to say, saving money is of utmost importance. And now that it’s time to go back to school, we’ve got to be careful not to spend too much of the money we scraped together at the summer job(s). Here are a few tips to help save on school supplies.
- Check your Inventory
- Make a List
- Budget, Budget, Budget
- Shop Around Before You Drive Around
- Know When to Buy Quality Stuff
- Buy in Bulk
- Gently Used is as Good as New
- Share with your Friends
- Prepare for Next Year
- Seek Financial Help
Before you go shopping, make sure you know what you’ve already got. Hopefully you kept all your leftover materials from last semester so you can use them again. For example, if a three ring notebook is in good shape, then you don’t need to buy another one.
Based on what you need, make a shopping list. It’s important to have a list in order to avoid spending money on impulse purchases. Stick to the list!
Look at your money situation and try to figure out how much money you’d be comfortable spending on books and supplies. Then, later, as you shop, you can challenge yourself to come under budget. Treat yourself with the leftover cash or put it towards paying off your student loans. Every little bit helps.
Check for sales going on at nearby stores as well as online marketplaces like Amazon. If you can make a few purchases online, then you’ll spend less gas money driving around for the item. Use Google Maps to plan out your shopping trip to each store so as to avoid unnecessary excursions. Know exactly what you’ll buy at each store.
Often, you can get away with buying cheap, off-brand supplies; however, you’ll want to be sure to buy quality stuff when necessary. Papers and pencils should be cheap, but you’ll want to spend a little more on a good laptop case to protect your computer. If it’s good quality, you won’t have to buy another one for a few years.
Gather a group of friends and put your money towards buying some of your supplies in bulk. Computer paper, three-ring binders, pens and pencils are often sold in enormous packages for much less money. Buy in bulk the items you know you’ll need for a while.
When you can, buy used supplies. Get to the bookstore early to have you choice of used textbooks. Also consider looking into various textbook rental agencies for good deals. If you like to hunt for you items, then hit up garage sales and thrift stores. Sometimes the effort is worth it.
If you take classes with your friends, consider sharing your supplies and splitting the cost. If you’re willing to work through the hassle of figuring out when who gets what, then this could be very effective at saving money.
Start getting ready for next year. Set up a separate account devoted to school supplies. Keep everything in one place. Track your supplies as the school year goes on so you can buy them as necessary and when you see them on sale.
This can be as simple as calling your parents for a little extra cash or checking with your university library to see if you get credit towards a printing account. You might also consider pursuing financial aid for textbooks through the university. Also seek out grants and scholarships from the government.
*About the author: This guest post is contributed by Roger Elmore, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: rogerelmore24 @gmail.com.
*Image Credit: Photograph by Claudia Snell [via Flickr Creative Commons]