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Back-To-School Shopping Quick Tips

September 2, 2022

You May Feel Uneasy About Costs This Time Of Year But There Are Ways To Streamline And Save

Purchasing classroom essentials not only takes time but can also require spending a lot of money. To ease the frustration and stress we’ve put together some quick tips to help you save a buck when shopping for school supplies this year.

Caring mother helping her daughter to choose and buy all the essential school supplies

Here are some things to consider:

  • Always start by creating a budget for your child’s back-to-school needs to help you decide what’s affordable. Check out our Budgeting page for access to a Budgeting Calculator and our Personal Financial Management tool to help you get started.

  • Take stock of what supplies you have at home. You might be able to reduce your shopping list by utilizing hand-me-downs or unused supplies from the previous school year.

  • Spread out purchases over weeks instead of buying everything at once to look for better deals. 

  • Stack sales with other discounts. Often, there are opportunities to save even more money on marked-down items with additional coupons, rewards, or discount gift cards.

  • Compare prices in-store or online before you buy. 

  • Look for retailers who offer discounts to college students and teachers.

  • Hold off on items that aren’t an immediate need. Seasonal items such as winter clothing will become cheaper after school starts.

  • Instead of buying all new items, host a clothing swap with other families in your neighborhood to help each other save more.

  • Consider adding other school costs like sports activities and travel for out-of-town games, fundraisers, and field trips to your overall back-to-school budget.

  • Buy refurbished electronics rather than splurging on brand-new devices.

  • Buy for durability instead of fashion. Supplies like backpacks and binders may last longer and can be used the following year again if they’re still in good condition.

  • Take advantage of credit cards that earn rewards like cash back, merchandise, or even gift cards. Visit our Credit Card page to learn about our rewards program. 

  • If cash is limited, consider applying for a small personal loan to fund your back-to-school needs. First Source offers low-rate personal loans for when you need extra funds.

College Students

Students who are off to college will likely have a more lengthy and costly list of needs. Having a budget that includes the cost of tuition, books, room & board, a meal plan, transportation, and other supplies is key to staying organized and maintaining your goals. The best way to prepare for the cost of college is to do your research.

Here are a few places you can go to read more about preparing for college as a parent and as a student:

  • Banzai – Going to College Collection – Free access to a library of articles, interactive coaches, and calculators to help you compare the cost of colleges, find affordable housing, and college budget breakdowns. You’ll also find advice about applying for FAFSA, scholarships, and student loans.

  • Balance Pro – College Planning 101 – A collection of free articles and workshops to further explore the expenses of college life, including access to toll-free assistance from their friendly Financial Service Representatives.

  • First Source Scholarship Opportunities – First Source offers a nationwide scholarship search tool with access to over 3.5 million scholarships worth more than $18 billion. You can be matched with a scholarship that fits your needs within minutes!

Live Smarter

If you’d like to learn more about budgeting your finances to help you shop better for back-to-school supplies, you can speak to one of our friendly Financial Service Representatives by calling 315-735-8571 to develop a personalized savings and spending plan that will fit your needs.

Bring This Session to a Live Setting

If you would like to schedule our Community Educator for a seminar or workshop for any Financial Friday educational topic, please email your request to

This article has been adapted from Balance Pro.

Posted in: FinancialFriday

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