Student Outside School

Believe it or not, you’ll be shopping for the upcoming school year in just a few months. And when that time comes around, you may find yourself wondering if you should buy generic or pay more for the name brand. The decision is about more than just whether you have the money. It’s about using your money wisely, continuing to add to your savings account, budgeting and being disciplined.


Consider this example: Let’s say you need four notebooks for school, in addition to a long list of other items. The plain notebooks might only be 50 cents or a dollar, while the more appealing ones are probably two or three dollars. A dollar or two might not seem like much, but when you’re buying a cartload of items, those costs can add up fast! And since the design on the front of your notebook doesn’t actually affect its functionality, you’d probably be wise to opt for the cheaper versions.


Sometimes, though, it’s OK to pay more to get what you really want – especially if the more expensive item is a higher quality. Consider a $75 backpack vs. a $30 one. The more expensive backpack may actually save you money in the long run, since it will probably last longer. Similarly, high-quality shoes may cost more than lower-quality versions, but they’re probably better for your feet and worth the extra investment.


Here are some additional tips for shopping success:


If you need three pairs of jeans for school, get one name-brand pair and two generic pairs.

Talk with your parents:

If they cover the cost of some of the things you need to buy, talk with them about how much they’ve budgeted and whether you can add your own money to that amount to purchase a more expensive version of what you’re shopping for.

Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap:

If something isn’t quite what you want in fit or functionality, don’t buy it just because the price is lower. You probably won’t like it enough to make much use of it anyway. This may be one of those times when it’s better to pay more to get something that’s just right.

Decide what matters most to you:

If a name-brand item is important to you, save your money for it, and be willing to go generic for other things on your shopping list.