Today I am sharing a few tips to save money at school. From elementary school to college, we've got tips for you.
It is the time of year when we are gearing up for a new school year. I know that school has already started in some areas and our district started this week. Having raised kids through school and also having worked in a school for years, I wanted to share some tips to save money at school.
Saving Money with School Supplies
- Take an assessment of school supplies from last year. Can you reuse that backpack? Just because a box of crayons is half-used, does not mean they still cannot be used.
- For the school supplies that are needed, check out your Sunday paper for all the sales. There are some amazing sales right now and now is the time to stock up on notepads, highlighters, etc. Buy extra for other great uses.
- Send your student with a refillable drink container instead of water bottles or juice boxes. This saves quite a bit over time and you are helping protect our environment too.
- Check out the dollar stores for school supplies. There are some great selections at these stores. The items in the photo above are from a dollar store aisle.
- Take an inventory of clothes you already have. Turn jeans that are too small into shorts or a cute bag. Check out the thrift stores for clothing. You can often find new items that have never been worn there as well.
- Organize a clothing swap with friends. People get tired of perfectly good stuff and it is nice when someone you know can use it.
- Shop the school sales and look for coupons online.
Packing Lunches & School Snacks
- Encourage your child to make there own lunch as often as possible. If they cannot make it, they can help pick the items to go into it. So many lunches are tossed in the trash with only the cookies eaten so be sure you check to see what your child likes.
- Make your own homemade lunch snacks. You will not only save money, but chances are they will taste better than storebought. Individual preportioned snacks are really pricey when you do the math.
- Package your own snacks. Keep grab and go snacking sections in your cupboard and refrigerator.
Other Ways to Save
- If your kids are in middle or high school, ask friends who have older kids if they would be interested in tutoring. College students can also be great tutors for a lot less money.
- Reduce the amount of money you spend on fundraisers for the school. Instead, offer services to help with the project or if you want to contribute, just make a straight donation. Many of those programs have a large profit margin (gift wrap, greeting cards etc). While they offer prizes for the kids, there is also a good margin that stays with the fundraising company.
- If you do drive or pick up your kids from school, incorporate errands into these trips to save on gas.
- Organize a carpool for pick up and drop off. This saves you gas and time, plus it is less traffic at the school with fewer cars - win-win. Share a calendar or give each person a day of the week to drive.
Wise spending habits can carry over to kids that are on their way to bigger things.
For college students
- Purchase used books. Check for the same titles on Amazon to see if you can find a better price. Sell your book back at the end of the class, if you can.
- Buy a planner and use it for your school and personal planning.
- Before moving into a dorm room, connect with your dormmates so you do not bring duplicate items like refrigerators or microwaves. Do the same for streaming services.
- Use public transportation at school. Parking and driving your car can be very expensive.
- Buy a coffee maker if allowed, You will save hundreds of dollars over the semester by buying coffee at the coffee houses less often.
How to Save Money At College
- Find an on-campus job. Many positions may even offer a chance to study while working.
- Research campus and local free events. There are many concerts, programs and workshops that are free in every city, it just takes some time to find them.
- Stay organized while in college. See my college student organization tips here.
Do you have a school money saving tip to share?