This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
Back to school shopping can be one of the most exciting, and most stressful, experiences.
There are few things that can get your child pumped up for the upcoming school year more than rummaging through the aisles of shiny new notebooks and highlighters in every color of the rainbow.
But as with all shopping adventures, every item adds up and before you know it, you end up with a receipt of purchases longer than your child’s summer reading list.
Though buying school supplies every academic year is a necessity, making the experience be an expensive one is not.
11. Collect miscellaneous supplies from junk drawers, closets, and other spaces around your home before you start shopping. You’ll more than likely find that you already have more supplies lying around than you realize.
10. Head to the dollar store for the most generic items. There’s no such thing as better quality for brand name when it comes to basic necessities like pencils and pens.
9. Avoid on-trend and themed items, like pencil cases and notebooks. Not only will they cost you more, but these items won’t hold interest through the years –opt for solid colors and basic patterns.
8. Leave the kids at home. The cardinal rule for saving money at the grocery store applies to school supply shopping as well.
7. Apply the hand-me-down principle to sturdy and long-lasting items like backpacks and calculators. If you’ve already made the investment, make the most of it.
6. Buy the cheapest items you find in bulk. If certain items are much cheaper than you budgeted for, buy one or two extra if you can spare — it’ll save you money down the road when the price might bump.
5. Rent (instead of purchasing full-priced) bigger and more expensive items that will vary from year to year. Think graphing calculators for specific math classes, textbooks, etc.
4. Save items that will always be available for last-minute. Though items like notebooks and binders may sell out, wait to purchase basic supplies like pencils and paper clips in order to avoid overpaying in the whirlwind of buying all your supplies at once.
3. Stick to your list. Write down exactly what you need, cross of as you go and resist the temptation to deviate.
2. Shop at more than one store. Pick and choose which stores you’ll buy certain items at — it’s the only guaranteed way for you to make sure you’re getting the best deal on each specific item.
1. Don’t fall for every bulk deal. While 10 boxes of pens for a seemingly low price might seem like a great deal, check to see how much you would really be saying per unit — often, it’s only a couple of cents and you end up spending much more up front for more supplies than you need.
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