school supplies

Save Money! 8 Back-to-School Supplies You Don’t Need

August 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm , by

classroomChances are you’ve got a long list of items you need to buy before your child is ready to go back to school. Here are eight things you don’t need when shopping for school supplies:

  1. Stuff Not on the List. Most schools provide a handy checklist of necessary school supplies. If you don’t have the list for your child in hand, you can probably find the school supply list for your child’s school online. If it’s not on the list, there’s no reason to buy it.
  2. Duplicates. Before heading out to the store, check your school supply list against items you might have purchased for previous years. No one needs more than one protractor!
  3. Themed items. Sure, your kid might be all over that Strawberry Shortcake or SpongeBob backpack now, but what happens next year when they move on to the next fad? Keep items fairly plain and generic and you boost their reusability factor.
  4. Novelty items. Smencils might make math class a little less painful, but at more than a buck a piece it’s a pretty costly non-necessity.
  5. Stockpile of clothing. You never know when the next growth spurt will hit,so it makes little sense to buy a wardrobe for an entire year only to have your little tyke turn into a beanpole in a matter of months.
  6. Book covers. This is a great way to recycle paper bags and, with the addition of stickers or magic marker art, allow your kid a chance at self-expression. No need to buy book covers when you can make them for free.
  7. Correction fluid.  Although most students use pencils, which make mistakes easy to fix, many school supply lists include correction fluid. If it’s absolutely necessary, substitute correction tape instead. Bottles of White-Out are messy and tend to dry out before they’re half-used. In the long run, correction tape is the much better bargain.
  8. Anything Not on Sale. With so many retailers running back to school deals every week, there’s really no reason to pay full price for any of the school supplies on your list. Keep an eye out for sales and don’t worry if you don’t have everything by the first day of school.

Stella Louise is the editor of the personal finance blog and remembers fondly when back to school supplies consisted of a brand new binder and a few newly sharpened number 2 pencils.