Life Parenting

Tips to Save Money While Shopping for College Supplies


Shop Till You Drop – Tips to Save Money While Shopping for College Supplies

The kids are heading back to school and it’s time to prepare them for a new year. Setting the bed times back, shopping for school supplies and if you have a new College student, you will also be helping them stock up for their newly acquired dorm room.

For most students, this is a time to shop until you drop! The school supplies list for a college student is a little more involved, complex and can be a stressful situation for both parents and child. It’s so easy to just shop and shop, and your child’s new college lifestyle can really add up!

To help keep things manageable and less stressful, I created a list of some things to keep in mind while shopping for your college student this Fall.

1. Stick to a list – Shopping for a dorm room is like shopping for a new home. If you set out to buy things beyond the “Essentials”, your credit card statement is going to soar through the roof. Go over a list of things that your child uses every day at home, these things can be added to your child’s shopping list. Avoid gimmick advertising that will tell you how badly your college student will need an item while away from home.

2. Hand me downs – Lots of people are upgrading their furniture and getting rid of the old. Same with your regular list of school supplies, grab what you can that is already laying around and take it with you to school. You really don’t need to buy everything “brand new”, save money on things that you can bring with you from home.

3. Shop discount stores and websites – The big box stores are going to do everything they can to get you to shop with them. If you can do things like shop on Craigslist, eBay, or even in stores like T.J. Maxx, money can be saved. This is a tool that really should be carried with you through life, not just college. So much money can be saved when stores offer great prices on “last season” items.

Shopping for College is an exciting time, it’s a new life that will present new opportunities. Hopefully these tips will help you save a lot of money so you can put it towards the more expensive things that college will bring.


About the author


Hi! I'm Amanda, a Kansas City Lifestyle Blogger, mom of two little people, social media addict, travel junkie with a slight obsession to baking and fitness.

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  • This is great advice. I always try to buy supplies in bulk when they are on sale so that I wont need to pay full price later on when they are needed. jweezie43[at]gmail[dot]com
  • My kids are great at saving money. I have 2 in college and they get their books from rentals and borrow from friends. They worked to get great grades for scholarships too so that helped a lot.
  • I'm getting ready to go back to school, and my biggest worry is the cost of textbooks since the field that I will be studying required new textbooks almost every year. -_- At least this will help a little for me, but a lot when my kids get older.
  • when i was in college i definitly remember living by some of these tips! even now i find myself trying to save as much money as possible
  • Great advice! I think the biggest thing is to stick to your lists so you don't go buying stuff you don't need or have the money for.
  • I remember using milk crates..yeah I kind of borrowed them from behind the grocery store...but they made great shelving. Look for used text books, garage sales, and Craigslist
  • I live near a city with a lot of colleges, and every year at the end of each semester, lots of students just abandon furniture on the curb because they don't have time to sell it before they leave the state (or the country!). A good way to get furnishings is to just drive around the night before trash pickup! I'll admit that I went a bit overboard trying to cover all of my bases my first time away from home. That 24-pack of wash cloths was totally unnecessary, and I don't even use wash cloths 98% of the time! But 15 years later, I still have them and use them to clean house.
  • 2nd hand is always a way to save or ask friends and family for things they don't use anymore.We love TJMax they have great clothes and home furnishings at great prices.I love their office & school supplies for your home office or dorm.
  • Hand me downs are great! There is always a can of paint out there to match your style! Start stock piling too- Putting things in bins you know you'll need for college will always help reduce the pressure of buying it all at once.
  • I like the tip#2 . Hand me Downs... I love to take on gently used notebooks and backpacks . I think its not realized that these items can be reused too.
  • Great tips :) I can go a little overboard decorating a room sometimes. I always want everything perfect, but sticking to the essentials is really a good plan!
  • Good tips. Shopping the discount and dollar stores is a good idea. Also, wait 'til the back to school rush is over and stores will have closeouts - perfect time to buy in bulk.
  • One thing I do is wait until the first day of class to buy my books. A lot of teachers have said that they won't be using the books that the school lists as a requirement. That can save hundreds of dollars. Huge MIZZOU! fans here. Love the pic.
  • I think it is smart to check with family and friends before buying anything for a dorm room. People are always happy to give away things they no longer need!
  • Since most folks use the same things in dorm rooms, the best place to shop is secondhand stores near campus right around the end of the school year - or some schools have on-campus resales or exchanges as school is letting out. Don't buy a bunch of new stuff just to resell it in a few short months!
  • My daughter saved us a lot of money when she was in college by buying and re-selling her books on Amazon. The price of books at the college book store was ridiculous!
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