Saving on Back-To-School Stuff For Your College Kid

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So you think you’re over the sticker shock of college tuition and then it comes time to actually buy all the stuff your kid needs for college. Yes, you basically need to furnish an apartment or studio (also known as “dorm room”) and all the basic essentials to get your college kid started.

But before you panic at the price of sheets and towels and toiletries not to mention the books, there are some ways to lighten the load on your credit card.

Because most colleges begin before September, you can’t take advantage of September sales, but you can.

Make a list
Consumer advisors strongly suggest starting with a list as this keeps down so much of the impulse shopping we do. Picture you’re in the mall with your daughter, both so excited for her first year of college and wham! You come home with bags and bags of great clothes and bills that you can’t pay off till Christmas. Keep to the list of essentials and plan a special date instead with your child for coffee.

Focus on Big-Ticket Items
And trust me, you have plenty of those. The good news is there are plenty of ways to save through coupons, incentive programs, rebates, weekly specials and online-only deals. Start with your most expensive items first like computers, cell phones and any other electronics your kid may need. You have a chance to save big by focusing on your most expensive items.

Shop on tax-free days
Check out the list from Real Simple for your state’s tax-free shopping dates to find out when your state is participating and which items are discounted. Many states hold their tax-free days as early as July so college kids can get a jump on necessities like school supplies and books.

Buy Used
About those books…they remain crazy expensive at schools. The best advice is the same advice that worked for us back in our college days – buy used and take good care of these books so you can return at the end of the semester for a pittance, but hey, it’s something.

Buy free money
Some stores offer discounted gift cards. You can check out sites like or where you can find savings as much as 25 percent on cards that others can’t use bed sheets and bath towels.

Amazon Amazon Amazon

Check out their Daily Deals if you have Prime membership. You can save as much as 40 percent on electronics and household items like bed sheets and bath towels.

Keep Your Kid Involved in Searching for Discounts

This is a great chance to teach your child, just before he moves out for the next few months, about budgets. It could be your last chance before he blows his budget on late-night pizza delivery!