Back-to-School Shopping Tips

Make the grade in the checkout aisle.

Young girl with backpack and books heading to school
Money-saving tips to help you gear up for school.

Is it time to stock up for your back to school needs? Whether its books, clothes or supplies, a school shopping spree doesn't need to break the bank. Here are a few tips to stay budget-friendly while still covering all your learning needs.

Salvage what you can

What made it out alive from last year? Take inventory of your current supplies and make note of what's still in good condition. Reuse and you'll forgo the need to spend more. The same concept goes for clothes: whatever wasn't worn down this year doesn't need to be repurchased.

Set a realistic budget

Start with a reasonable expense projection. This will motivate you to spend within your means. Back to school shopping shouldn't mean running up big bills every single year, so plan accordingly.

Make a list

Create a shopping list to fit your budget. Think about what you need for back to school and what would you'd like to have. It's important to consider both and distinguish between the two so that when you're shopping you can refer to your list and recognize what's a necessity and what isn't.

Shop the sales

Comparison shop to find the best prices and take advantage of competition. Price match is the promise to match another store’s price for the same product. Using this to your advantage allows you to get the best deal among several different stores. The Retale App makes this easy and convenient since you can view ads online and compare store’s prices on your phone pre-purchase.

Buy in bulk

It’s okay to stock up now for next year, too. If you know an item is in constant demand every year (like pencils, notecards etc.), don’t hesitate to buying a healthy amount—especially if you’re buying for children and have more than one in school.


While it may sound counterintuitive, don’t be afraid to pump the brakes a bit. After all, most sales don’t come to a close following the first day. In fact, it’s becoming a big trend to shop for school supplies after the first day because you know better what your teachers/professors/instructors want you to have. Plus, you may find that certain popular items are on deep discount because of the late date.

No matter what’s on your list for back to school, there are several ways to be money smart. Putting some analysis and creativity into your decision-making can help start the school year off right.