Kids may care what their backpacks and school supplies look like, but for the parents who are paying for these back to school items, durability matters a whole lot more. Even though it’s tempting to shop on price, you’re not going to save money if you have to replace items that break or don’t perform correctly. Quality is the best way to get your money’s worth — and luckily, quality comes at many price points.
Try these tips for selecting long-lasting back to school supplies:
If you’ve had good experience with a particular brand, start there. If you’re not sure, check online reviews to see what actual users have to say. Manufacturers that aggressively test their products before putting them on store shelves are more likely to produce school supplies and backpacks that last. (Learn more about Staples® brand products.)
Don’t be afraid to put supplies to the test while doing your back to school shopping. Here are some things you can do to simulate actual use.
Warranties and guarantees are an easy way to spot school supplies that are likely to last. “Don’t always go for the cheapest merchandise,” says Jeanette Pavini, consumer savings expert with Coupons.com. “A lunch box or backpack for school with a lifetime warranty could be a good investment.” Be sure to check the warranties for any back to school technology you buy, and don’t forget to supplement with an appropriate protection plan.
Though warranties are most common on bigger-ticket items, guarantees are often available on less costly back to school supplies, like binders and pens. For instance, the Staples® Brand 100% Satisfaction Guarantee lets you return any item from pens to furniture that you’re not 100% satisfied with.
While it may be the last thing you feel you have in the rush to procure back to school supplies, a little extra time — and attention to detail — can actually save you more time and money down the line. “It’s easy to get carried away because so much of the stuff is really cutesy and cool, and then nothing’s purchased based on durability,” cautions Lynne Skinner, a mother of two in Austin, TX.
Remember, tastes and price tags change, but quality and saving never go out of style.