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9 Creative Ways to Save Money on College Supplies

creative ways to save money

College is expensive, and there’s no getting around it.

On top of tuition, housing, and meal plans, you have to stock up on supplies to further your education.

Though you certainly could just order everything you need brand new from Amazon, that’s going to add up to be pretty pricey.

If you’re looking to keep your back-to-school costs low, take a look at this list of 9 creative ways to save money on college supplies.

1. Shop at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores

Going to garage sales can be an amazing way to save money and a pleasant way to spend your weekend mornings. You’ll never know what you’re going to find, and people are often willing to sell things for mere pennies once they’ve already dragged them out to their yard.

It’s a win-win. Garage sale hosts are typically just happy people are showing up to take away their excess clutter, and you walk away with a steal on things that could’ve cost you ten times as much (at least!) buying them new online.

Another great thing about garage sales is people will often let you bundle items together for even more savings. If you let them know you’re looking for school supplies, you might be able to walk away with shopping bags filled with what you need for an incredibly small price.

Shopping at thrift stores is another one of the ways to save money in college. Not only will you be able to find school supplies, but you might also be able to update your wardrobe all for a fraction of the normal cost!

2. Get the Best Deals on Text Books

Everyone knows that textbooks aren’t cheap. Buying textbooks from your school’s store can be incredibly pricey. Luckily, there are ways to find the best deals on textbooks so you can save as much money as possible.

Whether you decide to buy new or used textbooks or rent textbooks, you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet to get your education.

The best thing is that when the semester’s over, you can sell your textbooks back! If you’re wondering how to save money as a college student, this is one of the best ways.

3. Do a Supply Sweep

Before you load up your shopping cart with supplies, talk to your parents, and find out what you’ve already got a surplus of in your home.

It’s entirely possible that they’ve got extra paper, binders, pens, and maybe even an extra laptop lying around. There’s no need to buy things you already have access too, and it never hurts to ask!

4. Don’t Forget Your Student I.D.

Lots of places offer student discounts, so wherever you go, bring your student I.D.

This counts both for shopping for school supplies, back to school clothes, and companies in the town of your college. Little savings here and there can really add up, and it’s always worth asking if a business offers a student discount.

5. Don’t Pay Full Price For Electronics

If you’re going to need a new laptop, tablet, desktop, or monitor, consider buying a refurbished used item.

You can buy refurbished electronics from Apple, Samsung, Dell, and other companies. This can add up sometimes to be several hundreds of dollars in savings.

6. Check Out Your Local Dollar Store

It’s amazing how much stuff they can cram into a dollar store. A lot of the basic school supplies you’re looking for can be found at dollar stores for surprisingly cheap.

This is also a great place to get essential items for your dorm on top of supplies.

7. Use Sites Like eBay

It’s always a good idea to use caution when purchasing used items on eBay, particularly vital, expensive items like a computer.

That being said, if you find a seller that has tons of good reviews and is offering a great deal on a refurbished laptop, it’s certainly worth considering.

8. Shop On a Sales Tax Holiday

A lot of US states have sales tax holidays, meaning that you can shop for what you need without paying any sales tax.

This is great because especially on big-ticket items like electronics, the sales tax can really add up. Do some research online to figure out when your state’s sales tax holiday is so you can plan to save as much as possible on big purchases.

9. Plan a Supply Swap

It’s entirely possible that among your group of friends and larger social network, you can give away extras of what you don’t need and acquire what you do.

This is also a great opportunity to invite people who are now out of college and might have way more binders than they’ll ever need. Tapping into your social network to find the college supplies you need is a great way to cut down on costs. As a bonus, it’ll be fun, too!

There Are Tons of Creative Ways to Save Money on School Supplies

Here we’ve listed 9 creative ways to save money on school supplies, but there’s no need to stop there. If you follow these tips for college students to cut down on supply costs, you’ll be better able to focus on your education and avoid stressing about money.

Is it time for you to order your textbooks for next semester? Check out our wide range of textbook subjects or search for a specific book by it’s ISBN! We’ve got all the textbooks you need to make your college semester a success.

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.