Back to School: Saving on School Supplies

The fall semester of college will be starting soon for many  students. Education is one of the largest investments students and parents will make. That’s why it’s important to look at all the different ways you can save money on college expenses. Below are some recommendations on how to save money on different college expenses:


The price of college books can be outrageous so always look for used books to purchase instead of new. You can find used college textbooks in many different places ranging from the college bookstore to online at Craigslist or Amazon. You should also be mindful of the bulletin boards in college bookstores where you can find fliers posted advertising used books for sale from former students. Many students sell their books back either to the bookstore or to other students who are taking the class.

Dorm supplies

If you are going to be living in a dorm then you will need a few essentials to adjust and get comfortable. It is helpful to make a list of all the necessary items you will need and be mindful of the fact that dorms are usually on the small side. It would also be helpful to take a tour of the dorms before so you know what to expect and how much space you will have to work with. Many college freshmen bring way too much stuff for their dorm room when really you only need a few necessities.

A list of basic and useful necessities to have in a dorm is: an alarm clock (or you could use the alarm clock on your cell phone), a laptop computer, one or two sets of sheets, pillows and comforter or blanket for your bed, a couple of towels and wash cloths, a bathrobe preferably with pockets to carry your room key (for walking to and from the shower), cheap pair of flip flops to wear in the shower, small basket to carry stuff to the shower, hygiene stuff like toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor and shaving cream, a laundry basket and laundry soap, a few basic cleaning materials to keep your dorm clean like all purpose cleaner and dust rags, a miniature broom and dustpan, small first aid kit and any medications you take like vitamins and over the counter medications like pain medication or cold medication, a backpack, your college books and basic school supplies like paper, pens, pencils and a stapler. You can purchase many of these items for sale right now at local stores like Target and Wal-Mart.


To save money on tuition begin looking for scholarships and financial help for college when you’re still in high school, even if you have started college, keep looking for scholarships and other financial help that you might qualify for. Apply for any scholarships or any financial assistance you qualify for. You may want to seek the help of a guidance counselor at your high school or a financial aid representative to help you find scholarships and financial help for tuition assistance. If you take out student loans to help pay for college remember that you shouldn’t take out more than you think you’ll be able to pay off later. A couple of websites to use to search for scholarships are Fast Web and College Board scholarship search.

Compare College Choices

When searching for the right college to attend you should keep several important things in mind like how far the college is away from your family’s home, the cost of tuition, the cost of room and board and the cost of local prices for food and transportation. Be sure to choose a college that you can afford to pay for once you graduate. Choose a college that’s close to your home and stay at home with family while attending college so you don’t have to worry about room and board. Another option you could consider is renting a house or apartment with a friend close to the college you’ll be attending. You could also consider colleges that allow you to take classes online or at a distance. Many reputable colleges offer online classes nowadays and some even offer distance education where you can take classes on another college’s campus or at a distance education center.

School supplies

When it comes to school supplies usually you only need a few basic things for most classes. You will probably take a few classes where you might need to purchase something special like a special calculator, graph paper or a special tool to use in the class or a packet or CD of information the teacher wants you to have. If you have to purchase a special calculator like the TI-84 calculator see if anyone has one for sale or one they’re not using that you could borrow temporarily for the class. Stock up on basic supplies like paper and pencils when they’re on sale.

Use is a free service that allows you and anyone else who signs up to earn money for college with every eligible purchase you make from their partners. The great thing about this is that parents and students can sign up and immediately start earning money. The money you earn can be used for anything, including paying off student loans or using it for other college expenses. You are not restricted as to how you can use the money so you can use the money any way you want. How it works is every time you make an eligible purchase the partners of Upromise return a portion of that money back to you. The earnings accumulate in your Upromise account until you decide to invest it or withdraw it tax free. To track your purchases at retail stores  you simply input your shopper’s card number into the Upromise system and every eligible purchase you make will be added to your account.


If you live on campus and eat on campus at a cafeteria ask if they have a budget plan or reduced cost plan for your meals. If you do go off campus for some or all meals try to choose healthy and filling, yet frugal, options like soup, salad, sandwiches, fruit, and yogurt, rice and pasta meals. If you live close to home or at home you can eat at home with family.


You can save a lot of money if you don’t need or use a car very often. If your college is in the city then you probably don’t need a car for transportation if you live in a dorm or apartment nearby. You could walk or bike everywhere downtown. If you live close to the college you’re attending you could also bike or walk to school. You could also take the bus if you live near a bus route. These are things you want to take into consideration when deciding where to go to college and where to live if you’re not going to be living in the dorms. Needless to say living close by to the college you go to is definitely helpful.


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