This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

10 Back-to-School Buys That Are a Waste of Money

NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- With the average family expected to shell out $688 for back-to-school expenses, according to the National Retail Federation, it's important to decide if the items you plan to buy are actually necessary.

A lot has been made of a disappointing back-to-school season for retailers so far with moms and kids pushing back purchases, however, don't let that fool you into thinking lots of money isn't being wasted to outfit and arm today's student. The lull in back-to-school shopping highlights an important consumer wisdom: Sometimes the best way to save money is to simply buy less.
For less than $3 per week, you can get full access to Jim Cramer's intraday market commentary and stock trading strategies - sometimes before he says them on TV! Join now.

We asked students and shopping experts to brainstorm a quick list of unnecessary items for students heading back-to-school and college.

1. School supplies

School supplies are undoubtedly a must for students, but the suggested supply lists the schools send to parents have a tendency to be redundant. While it's best to stock up on supplies now if they are on sale rather than waiting mid-year when the items could be full price, just because an item is on the suggested supply list doesn't mean you need it regardless of the price.

Think about it: For younger students in elementary school, the supply lists might include crayons, markers and colored pencils, but isn't buying all three excessive?

Sometimes shoppers get carried away with the sales and hype surrounding the back-to-school shopping season and overbuy, which is just another way of saying shoppers overspend.

Also consider how practical some of the items you plan to buy will be in the classroom. "Big binders or Trapper Keepers are unnecessary for elementary-aged students -- and they do not fit in the classroom's desks. Also, pencils or pens that have a "novelty" aspect to them -- anything with a toy topper, etc., will irritate teachers by distracting kids," says Linsey Knerl, mother of five and blogger.

2. Shop at home

Before you even head out to the stores, shop at home first. Check your closets and desk drawers to see what items you already have.

And if you purchased a backpack or book bag in previous years, as long as it's still intact, why replace the bag every year? Take stock of items you bought last year and try to recycle as much as you can.
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs