School Shopping on a Budget

school shopping

As summer nears its end, school shopping season is in full swing. The school or teacher sends a list of what your child needs for that years’ school supplies, but the truth is that most families spend more than they need to on school supplies. 

Without careful planning, school shopping can strain the budget, especially if you have multiple kids. 

Here are some tips for school shopping on a budget. 

Start Small 

The teacher might say your child needs 6 glue sticks, but that is an estimate for the year. While you want to make sure your child has enough of the supplies to start out with, you rarely need the maximum number. Start small, or if you are able to get a good deal in bulk, only send a couple with your child at first. When he comes home asking for new glue sticks, pull the extra ones out and give those. This minimizes waste from lost or damaged school supplies and prevents you from buying more than you need. 

Shop Simple 

A plain spiral notebook will run you about 10 cents, compared to the $3.00+ that a specially decorated one will cost! Kids love fun school supplies, but it will be much easier on your budget to shop simply. Avoid the costly versions of supplies you can get much cheaper. Instead, help your child with simple DIYs using supplies you already have, like printing out a cool design to slip in the front of their binder for decoration, or painting a notebook cover. 

Check Last Year’s Supplies 

School shopping on a budget should start with last year’s supplies. Make it a habit to sort and store leftover school supplies at the end of the year. Then, you can check that stash of supplies first before deciding what you need to buy. Chances are, you won’t need to get a new set of colored pencils or binders each year. 

Shop Used

Some school supplies you just can’t get away with getting used (glue sticks, paper, etc), but many you can. Thrift shopping or shopping used are great ways to handle school shopping on a budget. Some common school supplies you can find at your local thrift store or online marketplace include:

  • Binders
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Staplers
  • Hole punchers
  • Erasers
  • Pencils 
  • Backpacks
  • Lunchboxes
  • Water bottles
  • And more!

For kids school shopping is a way to make the return to school more exciting, but for parents, it can be costly and stressful. Use the tips above to school shop on a budget this year!


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