how to spend
less for back
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Smart Savings: How to Spend Less for Back to School Shopping

It's that time of year again - back to school shopping season! But before you panic about the long list of supplies and the impact it'll have on your wallet, take a deep breath. We've got some great tips and tricks to help you save money and still get everything you need for the upcoming school year. In fact, some of the supplies you need may be in your very own home.

Whether you're heading back to college or shopping for your little ones, we've got you covered with smart shopping tips for all things school!

Back to School Shopping Tips 

Let's go over some key tips to follow when you're shopping for the upcoming semester. 

1. Assess Your Needs

What you're looking for on your list could very well be already inside your drawers and closets at home! Take inventory of what you already have before you start shopping. 

Look through your drawers, closet, and storage areas to see if you already have any school supplies or clothing items that can be reused. This will help you avoid unnecessary purchases and save money. Pens, pencils, office supplies and several others are can usually be found at home. 

2. Make a Budget

Before you hit the stores, determine how much you can afford to spend on back-to-school shopping. Consider all the necessary expenses, such as textbooks, electronics, clothing, and supplies. Setting a budget will help you prioritize your purchases and prevent overspending. 

If you realize you're in need of a little more financial assistance, don't forget to explore available options. For example, you can make quick instant cash from selling your used devices. 

3. Shop Smart for Electronics

Electronics, such as laptops, tablets, and calculators, are often essential for school. However, they can also be quite expensive. They can also experience a great amount of wear and tear over the school year so it's best to opt for something refurbished at a lower price. 

Instead of buying brand new, consider purchasing gently used electronics. Websites that specialize in refurbished electronics offer great deals at a fraction of the original prices. 

4. Take Advantage of Seasonal Sales and Student Discounts

Back to school season is known for its sales and discounts. Keep an eye out for deals on school supplies, clothing, and electronics. Check out both online and in-store sales to find the best prices. If you're able to wait on certain items, it may be best as stores will often discount them a few weeks after the initial start to the school season. 

Additionally, many stores offer special discounts to students, so don't forget to bring your student ID or check if your school has any partnerships with retailers. 

5. Compare Prices and Read Reviews

Although some may prefer the more well-known name-brand options, there may be less expensive options for school supplies that serve the same purpose. This is why researching on sites such as Amazon is a great idea as it provides an array of options that can be filtered by customer reviews. 

Before making a purchase, take the time to compare prices from different retailers. Use online price comparison websites or apps to find the best deals rather than immediately jumping to what brand you're familiar with. This can be done with backpacks, clothing, shoes, water bottles, notebooks, folders and more. You may be surprised to find that the higher rated options are ones that aren't advertised as frequently. 

6. Consider Second-Hand Options

As mentioned above, shopping second-hand school supplies not only saves you money but also helps to promote a greener future for all. Electronics can be purchased secondhand, as well as notebooks, school clothes, office supplies like binders and pens, and much more. 

7. Plan Ahead for Clothing and Uniforms

New school year doesn't need to mean forking over hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe! Here are some ways to save this year:

  • Shop end-of-season sales for next year's clothing: Keep an eye out for end-of-season sales at your favorite retailers. Chances are that you'll find clothes on sale that maybe perfect for spring and summer that you can save a great amount on.
  • Consider buying from thrift stores or consignment shops: Thrift stores are an excellent source for secondhand clothing. While it may take a little more find to find items that are your style, you'll be happy to know that they're more unique and affordable than clothing sold in large retailers. 
  • Check with the school for any uniform exchange programs: If you're shopping for your little ones and their school requires uniforms, you may want to ask the school about any school uniform exchange programs. For these programs, parents often donate clothing that either doesn't fit their children or they have perhaps moved on to a different school. In either case, it's worth saving some money! 

8. Pack Your Own Lunches and Snacks 

We get it - it's much easier to pick up a quick lunch, snack or coffee on your class break or send your kids to school with lunch money. 

These quick bites and beverages can add up and take a toll on your wallet. Packing your own meals and snacks not only saves you money but can also be much healthier, too! Here are some ideas to jumpstart your meal and snacks savings: 

  • Buy snacks in bulk at wholesale outlets such as Costco and Sam's Club: Although these retailers require memberships, you can save hundreds throughout the year by buying food in bulk. Keep them stashed in a drawer at work or in the pantry for your little one's lunches. 
  • Make your morning cup of joe at home: While a piping hot cup of coffee from the local shop sounds wonderful, these can often cost up to $10 (depending on your order) which seriously adds up over time. Consider brewing your coffee at home and investing in fun things like syrups and creamers from discount grocers to add some excitement to your morning. 
  • Meal prep for the week: Meal prepping doesn't need to be a chore when you mix things up and cater to your taste. Head over to your social feed of choice and look up "meal prep ideas" to get some inspiration. 

Earn School Funds From Old Devices

Trade in your used devices for instant cash for your school year! 

Earn Instant School Shopping Funds with ecoATM 

Whether you're shopping for yourself or for your family, back-to-school season shouldn’t be stressful or draining on your wallet. That's why ecoATM makes it easy to earn instant cash by selling your used devices at a self-automated kiosk. 

We have over 5,000 locations across the US, which means the chances are high that there's an ecoATM in your very own neighborhood. Price your device ahead of time and find an ecoATM kiosk near you to start selling and earning cash for your school season today!