Back-to-School Shopping Tips to Save Money

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Last updated on August 24th, 2023

Summer is nearly over, and it is time to head back to campus for millions of college students across the United States. There are countless blogs designed to help parents save money while shopping for back-to-school essentials for their little ones, but what about savings tips for undergraduates? Here are the best ways to save while shopping online for back-to-campus essentials.

How to Save Money When Shopping for Back-to-Campus Supplies

Here are six easy ways to save money when shopping for campus essentials this year:

Take Stock at Home

Savings start at home – and this is especially true when planning to head back to campus. Classroom basics, like pens, notebooks, calculators, and more, are useful from grade school through college graduation; so these items might already be buried in closets and drawers at home. Taking stock of supplies you already own can help you save money this semester – and in subsequent years of your college journey.

Shop Sales on Sunday and Monday

If you need to purchase classroom essentials, try to hit the sales on Sunday or Monday to avoid missing out. According to coupon experts, weekly sales at many stores begin on Sundays. This means that if you want to get in on the savings and avoid missing out on product availability, shop on Sunday or Monday.

Shop Tax-Free

Many states offer tax-free holidays on back-to-school shopping, while others are sales tax-free all year long. States tax-free on back-to-school supplies include Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

States that provide a tax-free holiday (or holidays) include Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and more.  Many of the tax-free back-to-school holidays in these states have ended for 2021, but always check your local regulations to see when the next tax-free back-to-school holiday is near you.

Spread Out Purchases

Spreading out purchases over time is a great way to avoid stretching finances to their breaking point. Save money by spreading your shopping over several weeks, buying what you’ll need immediately first and waiting for other purchases until they are needed. Some items may even go on sale if you wait a big longer for them.

Finance Purchases Over Time

Student credit cards offer a great way to buy back-to-school and on-campus essentials and finance those charges over time. An increasing number of student credit cards are offering a 0% introductory APR on purchases, with notable examples including the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students, the Discover it® Chrome for Students, the  Discover it® Student Cash Back, and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students.

Beyond 0% intro APR promotional periods, these cards also offer cash back rewards on every purchase. The Discover It Cash Back, for example, provides up to 5% back on eligible PayPal and restaurant purchases through September. These cash back rewards can help college students save additional money through statement credits or direct deposits when buying back to campus essentials and supplies.

Stack Coupons and Deals to Maximize Savings

When you stack coupons and deals, you increase savings by adding payment network (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) deals to merchant coupons. Payment networks provide exclusive savings to cardholders – regardless of whether they have a debit or credit card. Stacking deals may offer significant savings – savings that only increase with free shipping to save college students additional money.

Deal sites and portals offer a painless way to stack coupons and maximize savings when shopping for back-to-school supplies. Many of these sites are free to join and provide an aggregated list of offers from thousands of leading merchants in several categories, including travel, dining, shopping, and more.

Join BestCards Membership for Free

BestCards Membership is one example of an excellent deals portal that can save you money when shopping for back-to-school supplies. Using a quality deals portal (like BestCards Membership) allows students to find deals from thousands of leading retailers, as well as network-specific deals from their bank or card issuer.

Students can even earn cash back on select purchases – and even more cash back when they invite their friends or family to join and make eligible purchases through the portal. Even better, BestCards Membership is free to join. Are you interested in learning more about BestCards Membership and how you can earn rewards through our Refer-a-Friend program? Visit our helpful Membership Guide to find out everything you need to know and then join for free!

Related Article: 4 Ways to Save Money When Shopping Online

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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