Back to School Shopping Guide 2017

Soon big, yellow buses will make their voyage through neighborhoods picking up children for class. School bells will greet them, and backpacks will be full of homework and books. Regardless of how old your child is, you will need to start shopping early to ensure they have everything they need. Today’s parents are buying more electronics than ever before and according to the National Retail Federation, the average family will spend over $630 on clothes and electronics for the back-to-school essentials. Regardless of your shopping style, here are some things that you'll need to keep in mind when gathering school supplies for your child.

Pre-School / Kindergarten


When it comes to your young ones, you'll want to make sure they have everything they need for their first day of school. They'll need the basic supplies like crayons, colored pencils, paper and all the things teachers require to keep them attentive. In terms of clothes, you want to think comfort and clean. If you can afford name brand tennis shoes, it will be worth the extra money. You want your kid's footwear to not only have good support but also be easy to clean. Speaking of keeping things clean, try to avoid white. There are three items that you won't want to buy for your kindergartener: white shirts, pants or shoes. Try to choose colors that won’t show dirt and are play area friendly. 

Around the beginning of August, you will see the biggest back-to-school discounts. Retailers get rid of their summer styles, meaning they will offer extra incentives for you to buy the hottest styles and colors while they are still in stock. While you may be allured by these sales, remember that the weather is going to turn cold soon. You will only get to utilize those clothes for a couple months so a nice eclectic mix of seasonal items can be helpful. Be sure to like your favorite kid's clothing retailers so you don't miss out on any back to school deals! Some of our favorites are Old Navy, Macy's and Sears!  

Lunchboxes and book bags are also very important at this age as well. Because younger kids tend to ruin their school supplies quickly, keep in mind that places like L.L. Bean and JanSport have warranties on book bags. If your child loses or tears their bag during the school year, they will replace it for free. This is essential for the parent of the often-forgetful child or the one who tends to be a little more rough and tough with their items. 



The K-5th years are very formative. These children will need clothes to help them fit in with the crowd. It’s all about name brands like Under Armour and Nike, just to name a few. Don’t be downtrodden with the prices of these stylish products, you can find some amazing sales.

When it comes to school supplies, experts anticipate that Minion-themed items will be in highest demand. Followed by Wonder Woman, Spider Man, and Transformers. They will need notebook paper and crayons, along with folders. Look for sales like 150-page packs of notebook paper for as little as 50 cents. Name brand crayons can often be found for as little as 25 cents a box. Be sure to check out the big stores’ circulars when looking for notebooks, paper, pens and other back-to-school stationery. Some will price match with other stores, and you can do all your shopping in one location.

High School


When it comes to back to school shopping for the high school student, be prepared to shell out plenty of money. These days, high schools use electronics to keep up with their studies. They may need a new computer or laptop as well as a tablet or other note taking devices. Some schools provide students with these items, while others expect the parents to front the item. Did you know that back-to-school sales on laptops and tablets far surpass those on Black Friday? You may want to shop early for the best selection.

Teenagers are typically very picky about their reputations and the clothes they wear. You might want to pick up a shopping guide from their favorite stores. Start watching the sales at the end of July to see what is coming up. Unless you’re lucky and have a kid that could care less about those $80 designer jeans, you will need to plan accordingly. Many states have tax-free shopping days in August, which can also help you save.

College / University

ipad and books

College students are in a league of their own. If they are living on campus, you must think bedding, chairs, hampers, and other items to set up a dorm. Having enough laundry is often the problem. Most kids don’t have time to wash their clothes. Rather, they wait until they come home on break for mom to tackle the job. So, with that in mind, make sure that they have plenty of pairs of underwear, t-shirts, and jeans.

Grabbing some top-rated small appliances can help save on food costs. Have you ever heard of making a grilled cheese with an iron? Well, you don’t have to be that frugal, but think of every little thing they might need. When shopping, think about the creature comforts of home. Think towels, pillow cases, sheets, and blankets. Most university websites have a list the tells you what you will need to bring and what to keep at home.

Though they won’t need much in the way of “school supplies,” try to shop for a good computer. As a rule of thumb, don’t spend more than $375 to $650 for one. They carry these computers back-and-forth to class, and they can be easily damaged. A computer at $600 can do most of the same functions that one at $1,500 can do. Plus, if you need to replace it, you won’t kick yourself for spending too much. Don't forget to check out the top deals on electronics for your back to school needs from Best Buy, Target and Amazon!

Get Shopping!

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Shopping for school supplies is costly and time-consuming. However, by putting a bit of effort into looking for deals and signing up for discount clubs, you can cut the cost of your back to school costs significantly. Want more savings? check out our Student Discount Guide and Teacher Discount Guide.