How To Save Big Bucks On School Supplies

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Why so glum? Your campus bookstore isnt the only way to shop for college supplies; look elsewhere and save!

Why so glum? Your campus bookstore isn't the only way to shop for college supplies; look elsewhere and save!


With the first college classes just weeks away, most students are winding down from their summer break and are looking to finish their back to school shopping as soon as possible. Unlike when they were in grade school, all of the supplies for a college student’s education is an out of pocket expense, an amount adding hundreds even thousands of dollars to college expenses each year.

If you’re planning to head off to college for the Fall semester you can save money on all of your related expenses. Let’s take a look at some big savings options available to you:

Avoid the Campus Bookstore — The sure way to financial pressure is to buy your supplies on campus. College bookstores are notorious for high prices thanks to the highest mark ups, forcing you to spend much more money than needed.  Most college bookstores are subcontracted by colleges in exchange for a fat fee. Follett and Validis are two of the biggest operators and they’re looking to make money at your expense! Please read our article on textbook renting — an option that can save you hundreds of dollars this academic year.

Tax Free Weekends — Many states institute at least one tax free weekend each year where most school and personal supplies are free of state sales tax. Moreover, these events are usually marked by big sales making tax free weekends as busy as holiday shopping the weekend following Thanksgiving. Sorry, if you live in Tennessee, New Mexico, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri (partial), Iowa, or North Carolina this year’s event was held last weekend. Bummer! For Texas residents, your big weekend is still to come — August 15-17 to be exact. Check with your state to find when (or if) a tax break weekend is coming your way.

Shop Online — If you want to avoid the crowds while ensuring that your stuff arrives at your home and on time, plenty of online merchants are willing to give you a good price. Best of all, you can comparison price to find the best deals and, in some cases, receive free or discounted shipping along with a sales tax break. Also shop eBay, Craigslist, or just about any other site when looking for a bargain. Caveat emptor prevails — don’t give your money or personal information out to just anyone.

More Shopping Tips

If you prefer to shop in person, then the following types of stores are also worth a look:

Big Box Retailers including WalMart, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, and Staples. Penny sales, buy one/get one free, and deep discounts on school supplies are common with each.

Thrift stores and more. If you don’t need it new, then check out your local thrift store for some exceptional buys. You probably won’t find (or want) a used laptop, but a couple of pieces of furniture including a study desk, lamp, and bookcase can certainly come in handy.

How much can you save? If you hit the stores when the tax free weekend sales are in full force, at the very least you’ll avoid paying sales tax while saving on most any purchase, though restrictions do apply depending on your state. For more information on how to save, please read Shop Smart to Save on School Supplies today.

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Categories: Personal Advice