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Back to School 101: Turn Shopping Into Savings

Back to school. This time of year can break the bank for parents and students, especially those heading off to college for the first time. But you don’t have to spend money like it’s going out of style.

There are the obvious expenses – tuition, books and housing – and then there are tech tools like a laptop or tablet you need for class assignments. And don’t forget the gear that makes your dorm room the perfect study retreat.

These costs may seem like you’ll be eating ramen noodles forever, but don’t worry.  Here are five tips from Best Buy  to help you save money and still get everything you need to start the school year right:

1. Know what tech tools are best for you.
Not a photography major? Do a lot of your homework in the cloud? You don’t need to pay a lot for a laptop to help get your assignments done. If your professors haven’t posted the syllabus online yet, email them ahead of time and ask to see it for a better idea of which devices make the most sense.

2. Keep an eye out for deals.
There are deals aplenty this season and it’s usually cheaper to buy your gear before you hit the campus book store. The Best Buy Student Deals program has a coupon for students on everything from MacBooks to mini fridges.  All you need is an email address that ends in .edu  to sign up and start saving.

3. Split costs with your roommates.
When it comes to the dorm room, you don’t need two microwaves, mini fridges or Xbox One consoles. Connect with your roommate(s) ahead of time and decide who brings what; it’ll save you money and give you more space in your dorm room.

4. Protect your tech.
Always remember to keep your gear in eye-sight to help prevent theft and save you from hefty replacement costs. Computer locks are a great option to help keep your tech
secure, while protective cases for your devices help save on future repair or replacement costs.

5. Trade in to replace.
If you’re upgrading to a new and faster device, consider trading in your old one. Best Buy offers a Trade-In Program for a gift card to use towards a new device.  And check out which books you can buy used or online.  You may not need the latest hard copy of all your text books; online or used books can help you save some cash at the bookstore. At year-end,  many schools also give students the option of selling their books back to the bookstore to recoup some of the cost.