Money Saving Tips

Saving money on back-to-school supplies


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The dog days of summer are quickly coming to a close, and you know what that means: the first day of school is coming up.

Thousands of students across the Commonwealth will return to the classroom in the first few weeks of August. While the official “first day” varies from district to district, one experience of going back to school is universal: searching for school supplies.

What You Need To Know

  • Students across Kentucky are returning to the classroom in early August
  • With school supply lists in mind, it may be hard to figure out how to save money where you can
  • Reusing and repurposing supplies is a sustainable way to save time and money
  • Be sure to scout out the in-store and online sales before buying any must-have supplies

Whether it’s backpacks, binders, clothes or shoes — back to school shopping can get pricey. If you want to avoid spending a pretty penny on pens and pencils, here are some handy tips and helpful links to give your wallet some relief.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Arguably the best way to save money on school supplies is to not spend money at all. It may not always be feasible, but thinking sustainably about school supplies can take care of a lot of key items you or your child may need.

Backpacks are one of the easiest school necessities to reuse, since they don’t have to be purchased every single year. (File Photo)

Not all school supplies need to be purchased every single year, especially if you’ve purchased a sturdy, well-made backpack. Reusing last year’s backpack, binders or folders is a great way to save money.

  • If your kiddo’s backpack has seen better days, try cleaning it with rubbing alcohol or patching any significant damage.
  • Stickers can also be used to cover small stains or tears on binders and folders, plus they allow some personalization and expression.

Supplies like pens, pencils, scissors and markers are often easiest to reuse. When it comes to notebooks and paper supplies, it’s always a good idea to save any unused sheets.

  • Keep them all organized — and try not to lose them — and let your little learner use them with longevity. Try to use each pencil down to the eraser!
  • Remove any unused pages from old notebooks and add them to a three-ring binder as some makeshift loose-leaf paper.

In addition to backpacks and notebooks, water bottles should be considered in your sustainable school supply mission. Buying a reusable water bottle or Hydro Flask can cut down on plastic waste while also encouraging your child to stay hydrated in the classroom.

When it comes to back to school technology, especially in the age of COVID-19, expensive electronics may be a necessity. Some schools may provide computers to students for remote learning. If your child has a device dedicated to learning, taking good care of it and maximizing its life span provides a great return on investment.

Scout out the sales

Of course, not all supplies can be recycled or repurposed, so frantic shopping for school supplies is often inevitable. Before consulting the nearest store or website, though, consider all of your options and which stores are offering significant sales.

Colored pencils are a staple on most school supply lists. (File Photo)

If you’re looking to freshen up your family’s back to school wardrobe, lots of local retailers have great garment deals.

Technology doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Retail giants often offer significant price cuts on laptops leading up to the school year.

Don’t sleep on donations

Back to school supply drives are happening all around the Bluegrass. If you have a student in need of supplies, don’t hesitate to utilize a helping hand from the community.

Catholic Charities of Louisville, the YMCA of Central KY, Welcome House Northern Kentucky and Stuff the Bus SOKY are just a few of the community organizations taking part.

As students prepare to return to the classroom this school year, the Y, in partnership with Fayette County Public …

Posted by YMCA of Central Kentucky on Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Got any more money-saving tips for the back to school season? Let us know what we missed by emailing us at [email protected]