How to Save Money in Back-to-School Shopping

  • August 15, 2021
  • 10 minutes read


For most school-going people in UAE, the back-to-school season will begin in September. The excitement is already in the air because this long break from regular studies has been pretty excruciating for our young generations.

However, the Coronavirus pandemic has taken a serious toll on everyone’s savings and earnings, especially parents who have to pay for their child’s schooling. It’s true that the smell of new binders and textbooks is what children love at the start of every school year but managing all those resources might be harder for many parents and guardians out there.

Luckily, there are ways for you to avoid the extremely high prices of many school supplies and save your Dirhams for more important purposes. Ready to explore back-to-school money-saving tips? Here are some tried-and-tested ones!

  1. Play With Your Lists

Shopping anything is always much better and more organized with lists. Here’s why they matter in back-to-school shopping.

Your back-to-school shopping will officially kick off when your child’s school sends you the list for school supplies of the year. When this list arrives, and you see the dreadfully high bill, there’s no need to panic. All you need to do instead is, transfer that list onto an MS Excel spreadsheet. 

Then, go through everything on the list and assemble everything you already have at home—stationery, undergarments, lunch boxes and water bottles, plastic coating from previous course books, etc. Anything and everything that’s still there in mint condition is something that you can strike off from the list. 

Make sure you’re thorough with your search and are able to make the most of what you already have at home. For instance, if your child needs a spare notebook and you have some old-school notebooks with a few blank pages, you can take them apart and assemble all blank pages into a single file, and there you go! A spare notebook that’s good as new!

Once you have compiled all school supplies that you already own, you can remove those items from the list. This way, you’ll be able to save a substantial amount of money on clothing, books, etc.

  1. Look for Hand-Me-Downs and Exchangeable Items

If your children are going to the same school in different grades, or if you know other kids in your family or friends who are a few years ahead or behind your child, then you can try to swap your supplies.

Suppose you have two sons. One has cleared the fifth grade; the other has cleared the seventh. Your neighbor has a son in the same school, clearing sixth grade. Now, you can hand over your elder’s course material and maybe even his uniform to the neighbor’s kid who is about to start his seventh grade. 

Your younger one can take over the neighbor’s kid’s school supplies in turn. This way, you’ll be able to save on a big chunk of your school supplies for not just one but two kids. When your younger one gets to the seventh grade, you can even ask the neighbor to return any seventh-grade course material that’s still usable!

  1. Buy in Bulk

Bulk supplies are another way you can save on your money for school shopping. How? Let’s see:

When you decide to purchase from a vendor only for an individual’s supply, that usually has a number of taxes and fees added to the basic cost of the item, even if your child’s school is providing supplies, they’re most probably keeping a commission for themselves. Collectively this can add to way more amount than the actual cost of the items.

However, if you visit supply warehouses and factory outlets, you’ll be able to get more for less. You can ask around in your family, friend’s circle, and your children’s friend’s circle if anyone wants to tag along. The more people purchase in bulk, the lesser it’ll cost. Even if you buy stationery, notebooks, or art supplies, etc., in bulk only for yourself, they’ll last you for the next few years at a reduced cost.

  1. Using E-Wallets

If you want everything brand new and top quality, here’s a super easy solution for you to avoid overspending: PayIt Digital Wallet! It’s one of the best digital wallets you can go for if you’re willing to go cashless in purchasing school supplies. But how exactly does PayIt help you save money in back-to-school shopping? There are three ways PayIt works in your benefit:

  • Cashback Offers

Cashback is one way that your overall expense on back-to-school expenditure remains within your budget. Whether you’re at a local retailer, a brand outlet, or surfing an online shop, cashback through digital wallets is available everywhere. This will help you drop all the extra charges on your actual purchase.

  • Coupons, Loyalty Rewards, and Vouchers

Another advantage of using PayIt for your back-to-school shopping is that there’s always some sort of coupons, vouchers, or loyalty rewards waiting to be used. You can avail of discounts, gifts, and even more coupons for future purchases on other items. These coupons may come from your nearby supermarkets, malls, or even specific brands. Either way, you can get things that are expensive for a much lesser price.

  • Track Your Expenditure

PayIt allows you to keep a record of how and where and when you spend your money, so you’ll always be aware of how close you are to crossing the budget boundaries. This will keep you from spending more than you intended to, as well as help in prioritizing your expenses on supplies in a smarter way. 

  1. Aim for Value, Not Cheapness

One big problem with school supplies is that not all of them last the full year, and some of them don’t even last a month. Sometimes, this happens when your child is careless with their supplies. They keep sharpening their pencils, wasting their papers, and some don’t even take care of their books.

But more often, it’s because the quality of supplies you purchase isn’t up-to-the-mark. Remember that 70% off mega sales for back-to-school supplies at your local stationers? They most likely sell old and nearly expired supplies. These supplies give away real quick, and as a result, you have to purchase them again, almost doubling your overall expenditure. This also happens with school uniforms, bags, shoes, and other supply gear. 

So always make sure you purchase high-quality and durable supplies at the beginning of the year. Even if they’re a bit expensive than the cheaper options, you’ll at least be assured that everything is of perfect quality. If you’re looking for some reliable services with trustable discounts, then just head over to PayIt’s digital app to discover some exciting offers!

  1. Look Into Reusable Options

Reusable options are available in literally every school supply that you can think of! You can go for clickable pencils with lead cartridges instead of regular wooden pencils. You can opt for erasable binders and paper stacks instead of purchasing completely new notebooks. You can look into inflatable water bottles and silicon-and-steel lunch boxes instead of regular plastic ones.

If they are required to wear face masks and carry hand sanitizers, make sure you get a washable mask and a refillable sanitizer bottle with refill pouches!

  1. Learn (and Teach) to Prioritize

Saving isn’t easy, especially when it comes to school supplies. As a parent, you secretly want to get the best of everything for your children, but in a tight economy, that won’t always be possible. This makes a lot of parents feel guilty about not doing enough for their children, even if they know deep down that it’s not true. 

Whenever you struggle with staying within your budget, the best solution is to prioritize your needs. Which kid can continue with an old school bag? Which one can still fit in their old uniform? Which child can you rely on to use their leftover stationery wisely? 

This also means that besides your own learning, you also have to engrave this behavior in your children’s minds. Try to include them in the budgeting and finances of their school supply from a young age. They may not understand complex matters such as tuition fees or taxes, but they’ll learn how to not waste paper or ruin their uniform or lose their water bottles.

As they grow older, try to get them to make their own shopping lists following the method we mentioned above. Allow them to spend their own money and reward them if they manage to save some of it. This way, they will not only learn to use their school supplies with care, but they will also understand the importance of savings in other matters in the future.


Saving is challenging. It is fun. It is rewarding. And above all, it is quite vital in modern times. Back-to-school shopping is surely inevitable, but with this list and the smart saving offers that you can find in your PayIt wallet, you will enjoy shopping as well as saving!

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