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Education

Back-to-School Budgeting
Author: By: Michelle Izmaylov

While the holidays are infamous for devouring your hard-earned greens, there's another time each year that blesses your money with wings to find new roosts in the pockets of store owners. That's right: back to school season. Unfortunately this year, college students who are typically hovering on the edge of debt are even more pressed for cash as the global economy struggles to rebound. If you're living on a dime and looking for supplies for the upcoming school year, check out these tips about how and where to shop on a back-to-school budget.

Start Shopping in the Attic
Cobwebs and your grandmother's old knick-knacks don't sound like they make the most appealing atmosphere when it comes to shopping. But you'll be surprised what's hiding right at home! This is an especially great strategy for big-ticket items like furniture for your dorm room or off-campus apartment. Maybe your parents have a nice sofa they're planning to part with. Grab it! You can also reclaim pens, binders, unused notebooks, and all sorts of other goodies just by checking out your old stuff. Do you have any older (or even younger) siblings? Ask them if there's anything on your shopping list that they have and would be willing to donate to your cause!

Shopping Equals Splurging?
Not when your budget's on the line! And that means it's important to make sure that what you're buying is what you're going to be using. For instance, did you ever walk into a department store and see the cutest-but rather expensive-must-have bedding set, complete with fluffy pillows and a quaint rug? Before you buy, consider this: do you really need the fancy extras? If those pillows are just going to host your dust collection, think about buying a smaller set that includes just the essentials. And that goes for computers, electronics and just about anything you need; don't buy the most expensive model if a cheaper one can satisfy the same need at an affordable price.

Budget Book Buys
And buy books, we don't mean just fun reads. With another academic year comes another round of shelling out cash for college textbooks, many of which you'll discard as soon as your classes are over (if not before). But there's no rule saying you have to buy books at full price! Local used bookstores will often carry textbooks at deep discounts. Plus, you can visit online retailers or search the Internet for Websites offering books on a budget. Finally, don't underestimate the value of word-of-mouth shopping. Find a friend or classmate who has already taken the class that's on your schedule next semester and buy their books!

 
 
 

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