5 Super Simple Ways to Save Money on School Supplies

It’s back-to-school time and that means back-to-school supplies! Each year, it seems like school-supply lists get longer, and the items on it more expensive! Here are five simple ways you can cut down on costs.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read

Make a binder organizer out of a plastic bag

Skip the Branded Supplies

Ever noticed the price difference between a regular notebook and a notebook with your kid’s favorite cartoon character on it? Not surprisingly, school supplies attached to a brand are much more expensive! We can’t keep your kid from begging for the branded stuff, but we can help you meet him halfway for a cheaper price:  Buy some stickers of the character and let him decorate the plain supplies. You’ll save money and get a craft project out of it!


The next time you see something cool in the school supply aisle, ask yourself “can we make this at home?” Lots of school supplies can be easily DIYed—try some of these easy projects that BuzzFeed dug up. One school supply we make ourselves each year is an organizer for a three-ring binder. Instead of buying one at the store, you can make one at home by taking a heavy-duty Ziploc freezer bag and punching holes in it so that it fits in a binder. It works just as well for holding pencils, erasers, and other easily misplaced items.

Don’t Shop with Your Kids

Taking your kids with you to the store is often inevitable, but if you can get away with it, go school-supply shopping without them. Not only will it take a lot less time, but they won’t be there to pressure you into more expensive items.

Step Out of the Superstore

Even if they’re advertising sales (or “sales” that aren’t really sales), stores that make a lot of money on school supplies, such as office supply stores and superstores like Walmart and Target, are often the most expensive places to buy school supplies. Try hitting up dollar stores and other stores that are specifically for back-to-school supplies. One we love? The Army/Navy surplus store for backpacks. These military-style bags look cool to older kids and are built to last in the battlefields, so they’ll certainly stand up throughout the wear and tear of several school years.

Wait Until After Labor Day

After Labor Day, stores drastically mark down all of the school supplies that haven’t sold—which means a bargain for you, if you can wait that long! If your child has items on her school supply list that aren’t super-pressing, like art supplies or supplies for the entire classroom that are meant to last the entire year, wait a few weeks and hit up the store after Labor Day.

For more ways to save money from all over the internet, check out our Saving Money board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for daily tips!

Photo by Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.