Skip to content

College Students – It’s Time for Back to School Shopping!

2012 August 22

By Vanja Basaric

College Students- It’s Time for Back to School Shopping! Find Ways to Save Money AND help Protect the Environment!

With summer nearing its end, college students like me start thinking about supplies we need when going back to school. When I think of back to school shopping as a kid, I think about how excited I used to get when teachers sent out school supply checklists. I would eagerly run up to my mom telling her we had to go to the store THAT DAY, or all of the good supplies would be taken. I remember running through the store picking out the newest Backstreet Boys folders and gel pens so I could impress friends with my brand new supplies. But as much as I enjoyed back to school shopping, the older I got, the more I realized how pricey it can be.

For college students, back to school purchasing is more about housing, textbooks, and computers. As a graduate student, my back to school shopping this year means upgrading my computer, purchasing a mini-fridge to keep my snacks fresh, and ordering endless amounts of textbooks. Clearly, these needs require quite a hefty budget, but there are many ways that I have found throughout the years to keep costs down.

I’m also passionate about finding ways to help protect the environment when making my back to school purchases. For instance, I always make sure to buy appliances and products with the ENERGY STAR label .  Having my own apartment means paying for utilities, and this makes me even more energy and cost cautious. What impresses me about ENERGY STAR products is that they offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance or features. ENERGY STAR provides a list of products for your dorm room or apartment.

Other ways I save money on back to school shopping include buying electronic versions of my textbooks. Rather than spending a fortune on hard copies of the text, I just download the electronic version and easily access it on school computers. I’m amazed at how much money I’ve saved over the years by not buying name brand pens and notebooks and shopping at discount stores. Yes, this means giving up my beloved gel pens, but it also means saving money.

So whether you are going back to your dorm or finally moving off campus into your new place, remember these back to school shopping tips and save money while being mindful of our beautiful environment!

About the author: Vanja Basaric is a graduate student at James Madison University working towards a Master of Public Administration. She is currently a summer intern in the Office of Public Engagement.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Scott permalink
    August 22, 2012

    This is a great post! I miss my college mini-fridge… it was a hand-me-down from several other students. Perhaps you can encourage curbside recycling and reuse by hosting a Move In/Move Out Day activity on your campus?

    More activities for college students can be found at

    PS. do you think you can reuse those Backstreet Boys folders ;)

  2. Christine permalink
    August 22, 2012

    and don’t forget post consumer recycled paper products when the list includes looseleaf refills, spiral notebooks, and college ruled paper.

    Love the energy star appliances and e-text books! Have not participated in a Move In/Move Out day, but it sounds like a brilliant idea.

  3. Charlie H permalink
    August 22, 2012

    Looking for the energy star label when buying an appliance is a good idea but if you already have an appliance, regular maintenance from a reputable appliance repair companycan help you save energy as well. Appliances get worn and components like the refrigerator coils get dirty and make your appliances work even harder, wasting more energy.

  4. Vanja permalink
    August 27, 2012

    Hosting a Move In/Move Out day is a GREAT idea! I will work to set that up with my student apartment complex towards the end of the semester. College students are always looking for ways to be cost efficient!

  5. Harshal Shah permalink
    September 7, 2012

    That is really nice information to share with them. Now-a-days school appliance shopping are really tough task to parents. So you can giving me a better solution about that.

  6. Tarrence permalink
    June 17, 2014

    Like Scott said hand-me-downs are awesome; end of summer sales a great but ask graduates you know before yo go shopping they usually have something left over from college.

  7. saiful1212 permalink
    November 29, 2014

    Thank you, Great information! Really nice post,I think this post helps many people.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS