The start of the school season often causes an uptick in purchases, from school supplies to new clothes. Here are a few tips to help you save money and resources.
- Inventory what you have at home before making additional purchases.
- Take care of your pack, folders, cell phone and other items. They’ll last longer, saving you money in the long run.
- Check thrift stores for reusable school supplies such as binders and backpacks.
- Choose products with more sustainable or recycled content – paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer materials or pencils made with sustainably harvested wood, for example – and less or no packaging.
- Consider the packaging and choose products with recyclable wrapping or internal containers made of recycled content.
- Consider refurbished computers over new ones. They often cost less, and some come with a warranty when purchased from the manufacturer.
- Donate extra pens, pencils, rubber bands, paper clips and other supplies to a local elementary school or nonprofit organization.
- Connect with dorm mates ahead of time to determine which housewares – from dishes and hair dryers to furniture and electronics – you can share, cutting down on unnecessary purchases.
- Reuse items from home when furnishing the dorm room. For remaining items still needed, check local thrift stores.
- Explore options to safely bike and walk to school.
- Collaborate with other parents on a carpool for the kids to reduce pollution and traffic congestion while saving time and money.
- High-schoolers in the Portland Public School District can ride TriMet at reduced fares.
- For lunches, use reusable containers and utensils, and cloth napkins.
- Keep a running list of needed items – on the fridge or on your phone – to avoid multiple, last-minute car trips.
- Choose tap water over bottled products. It’s just as good and – at less than a penny per gallon – it’s a bargain.
- Shop for back-to-school apparel at thrift and vintage-clothing stores, giving good-quality, one-of-a-kind fashions a second life.
- Host a clothing-swap party for friends and neighbors.