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Budget Savvy Back-to-School Shopping

Budget Savvy Back-to-School Shopping

Learn how to shop smarter so you can save on all your back-to-school shopping!

Elizabeth Hoyt

June 25, 2014

Heading to college is exciting…and expensive! Whether you’re going for the first time or returning for a new semester, there are likely items you’ll have on your shopping list that quickly add up to one hefty sum.

Wise shoppers stretch dollars, so don’t overspend on things you don’t have to (which is pretty much everything, by the way).

How? It’s easy – just shop smarter!

Not sure how? Here are some tips to help you shop smarter for your college needs.

1. Learn Dorm Do’s and Don’ts

Your awesome wall hanging won’t look so awesome in a box under your loft. Make sure you’re going to be able to hang it – along with other dorm restrictions before you buy.

You can easily find out from the school what is and is not allowed in dorms, including: items hanging on walls and small electronics.

Additionally, many schools have commonly used items available for students in the dorms, so you don’t need to purchase them.

Takeaway: Check the do’s and don’ts before you buy so you don’t end up wasting purchasing and packing items you don’t need!

2. Back-to-School Promotions

Have you ever heard of a back-to-school sale? We thought so.

If you know of stores that have some or many items you need for school, check if they will have a promotion available any time in the near future.

Takeaway: Research back-to-school promotions. That way, you can be prepared to buy when the time is right – and so are the prices.

3. Coupon Clipping

One quick search for coupons online will demonstrate how easily accessible they really are for most retailers.

Check out sites and apps, like RetailMeNot, for your college essentials and not-so-essentials.

Takeaway: Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, do your research beforehand so you can be prepared with coupon clippings for your college gear.

4. Discount and Competitively-Priced Stores

Discount and competitively-priced retailers, like T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, and Amazon, have great prices for great items.

Check out these stores for things like towels, bedding, electronics and other dorm essentials.

You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck which means you’ll have money left over to spend on other things you’ll need for more important items like books, for instance.

Takeaway: Shop at discount or competitively-priced stores to get more bang for your buck.

5. Hand-Me-Downs

There’s nothing wrong with taking some gently used items with you!

Hit up family, friends and neighbors to see what they’re willing to discard.

Takeaway: Someone else’s trash may be your treasure – plus, it’s likely free or, at the very least, a lot cheaper than shopping retail.

6. Classifieds

Before you buy a high ticket item, remember that it’s going to get a lot of wear and tear throughout the next year (or, perhaps, the next four plus years). Since it’s not going to last the test of time, why not try to get it for free?

Web sites,like Craigslist and Freecycle, are brimming with items that others no longer want or need.

Takeaway: Perform some quick searches online for free items in your area frequently, as they are updated all day, every day.

Do you have any other budgeting tips for back to school shopping?

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