Watch For State Sales Tax Holidays And 12 More Back To School Money Saving Tips People Swear By

Well, it’s somehow back to school shopping time again, but with prices still going up everywhere, we can really use aaaaaall the money-saving tips.

So recently, we asked parents, teachers, and students in the BuzzFeed Community to share their best tips for saving money on back to school shopping. Here’s what they had to say:


“Hit up back to school sales at office supply stores like Office Depot and Staples. You can get many items for under $1 right before school starts. They always have a huge selection, unlike the big box stores.”

little girl picking out school supplies


“In the state of New Jersey this year, the governor declared that August 28th – September 5th will be a tax holiday from all school-related items, including sporting items needed to participate in extracurricular sports; no tax will be levied on these items. The list is on the NJDOE website, as well as the state’s official page. No one in the media seems to be covering this too broadly, so I’ve been posting about it in every teacher/parent Facebook group I’m in.”


Note: Other states also have tax holidays for back to school shopping and at other times throughout the year. You can see a list of tax holidays for all states here


“Never buy your college books from the campus book store. Most books you need are already in the library and you can just copy the pages or check the book out. If it’s not in the library, you can rent it on Amazon for like a third of the price.”


“A lot of things like pencil pouches and spiral notebooks can be purchased from places like Dollar Tree because they are far less expensive, but investigate which items you should invest more in because the difference in quality can be meaningful. For example, students go through cheap pencils faster because they break often and do not sharpen well. Cheap erasers do not erase well and rip paper. Plastic folders last longer than paper ones.”



“Buy supplies the first or second weekend after students return to school. Sales are huge and often better than the tax free holidays. This also gives you a chance to get a better idea of which items your student really needs. Sometimes back to school lists (like mine) are actually designed by the teachers each year and are accurate, but some schools create generic lists that do not always reflect genuine needs. Check with the teachers first, especially if money is tight. We are happy to help!”

kid getting off the school bus on the first day of school


“Also, consider what your student is likely to need right away, like paper and pencils, and prioritize them. Some items can wait a few weeks, so buy them last.”



“When your child starts junior high school, they will have a lot of books to carry — which is hell on backpacks. Go to a leather store and buy an all leather backpack. It will be the best money that you’ve ever spent on school supplies and will last all the way through high school.”


“Look for used items like backpacks, pencil pouches, and lunchboxes on apps like Depop and Poshmark. The price is usually way less — just make sure everything is clean once you get it.”



“Instead of getting multiple notebooks (unless you need them), get one multi-subject notebook. It’ll cost you a lot less than buying a bunch of notebooks that, let’s face it, you’ll probably end up using only a third of.”

student carrying books and a notebook


“I splurge on the ‘big items,’ such as binders, backpacks, and water bottles. The reason being is that if the items are more durable, they last much longer and you do not have to buy new supplies nor do you have to add unnecessary waste. And speaking of durability, ALWAYS read about how to take care of items, so that you don’t accidentally damage them. All of my owner’s manuals are filed in a small paper clip and are located in a designated drawer in my desk.”

Two kids' waterbottles


“Just reuse, reuse, reuse, reuse. Two pocket folders can be reused from year to year, and so can pencil cases, backpacks, etc. And buy a mega pack of pens or pencils cuz you’re gonna need it. And it’s cheaper that way too.”


“At the elementary school level, we have formed a group and each parent is buying things in bulk to share among the group. I can get 24 packs of crayons for $18 rather than the $1 each at the store. Same with markers, notebooks, pencils etc. We are also asked to supply Kleenex, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer which also come cheaper in bulk.”



“There’s always a back to school sale at the big hypermarkets where I live where you can get your notebooks, stationery, lunchboxes etc. at heavily discounted prices; so I usually have leftover stuff from last year’s sale and just top up whatever I’m running low on. This and dollar stores usually do the trick.”

shopping cart full of school supplies

Do you have a great hack for saving money on back to school shopping? Share it with the class in the comments!

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