This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
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
$1 buys you full access to ALL of TheStreet's Subscription Services! Learn More

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

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

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
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, 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
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,810.06 +91.06 0.51%
S&P 500 2,063.50 +10.75 0.52%
NASDAQ 4,712.97 +11.1030 0.24%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs