Save Money on College Supplies

Thankfully, I’m out of college. I loved it while I was there, but even if we forget the high cost of tuition, it’s surprisingly expensive just to buy the supplies needed to stay in college! Between textbooks, notebooks, binders, backpacks, and more, students can easily spend over $1,000 every six months just on supplies alone. It’s pretty insane!

I was on a tight budget in college, though, so I know how much it sucks to try and get everything you need without spending everything you have. Thankfully, with a bit of extra time and patience, you’ll find that you can cut your supply spending in half (or more!) Using deal-hunting, price comparison, and textbook rental, you don’t have to spend your entire budget. Here are some of my suggestions:

Buy around July and August: Do you pay attention to store ads? Around July and August, you’ll find that many retailers (especially Target and office supply stores) will have great deals on school supplies. If you need standard supplies like notebooks, folders, pencils, pens, and similar items, try to buy enough to last you for the full year. It’s not unheard of for office supply stores to sell various office supplies for a penny each week in order to get people in the door to hopefully purchase full-priced supplies.

Employ Price Comparison: Your local campus bookstore is definitely the easiest place to shop, but I doubt it’s the cheapest. If you really love what your campus bookstore is selling (such as custom merchandise or items with your school mascot), it’s great to support them (as it helps support your school), but when it comes to standard supplies such as art supplies, basic notebooks, paper, and electronics, you’re probably better-off purchasing things elsewhere.

Year-Round Electronics Deals: If you have the ability to hold-off on purchasing a computer or other high-end electronic item, it’s best to shop-around for a deal. While your local campus bookstore may offer computers, try and shop around to find a good deal. Buying refurbished will save you money, but ensure they have a good return and warranty policy. When buying new directly from most computer manufacturers, check to see if they have a Student discount. By proving that you’re a student at a university, many computer manufacturers will provide a discount. Last I knew, HP, Apple, Dell, and Sony all did so.

Find Out if Textbooks are Essential: Before you purchase or rent a textbook, make sure the textbook is essential. Some professors will list a textbook because it’s required in their curriculum, but they may never even open the book. If you’re unsure if the textbook will be required and don’t expect to have homework in the first week or two, hold off on purchasing a book until the first day of class. Better yet, speak to students who took the class last semester to find out about textbook usage.

Rent Textbooks: By far, the largest expense any student will have is textbooks. Determine if the textbook is something you’re going to need for classes down the road or referencing later in your career. In most cases, the answer is “no”. For those cases, renting a textbook is the way to go. By renting somewhere like Campus Book Rentals, you’ll save 40% to 90% off of campus bookstore prices, AND you don’t have to worry about reselling it when you’re done. You can highlight in the books, and they offer flexible renting periods to ensure you can keep the textbooks as long as you need them.

Want more information about textbook renting? Check out this video!

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