As the parent of high school and college students, back to campus shopping is never easy on the budget. No matter how hard I try, there are always unexpected expenses that pop up and they often surround text books, study guides, and supplies. Thanks to ResourcefulMommy Media for engaging me to write this sponsored post by the Barnes & Noble MasterCard, powered by Barclaycard, this fall I’ve got a few new tricks to try to keep those expenses under control.
In the case of my high school student, the back to campus shopping challenge begins with the fact that the kids don’t get supply lists until the first day of school. Often full of unique items not easily found at traditional big box stores it can be like the Amazing Race with every other high school student to get what you need by the very next day.
But it’s my college student that really keeps me hopping. In his sophomore year at UNC Charlotte, we’ve been delighted to find that his on campus Barnes & Noble store has most anything he needs when it comes to school supplies. This is key because now that he is semi on his own, it’s up to him to stay on top of what he needs and replenishing things when he runs out. And then there are college text books ~ they literally cost a fortune! According to The College Board’s Trends in College Pricing Report The average cost for books and supplies last year was $1,225 at public colleges and $1,244 at private colleges. Insane! So for obvious reasons, our son always purchases based on the lowest cost and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how often it’s been his campus bookstore that has been the source. Not only is this great for the pocket book, it leaves him no excuses for not having his books either ordered or returned on time.
Because college is also a time to teach the next levels of financial literacy for young adults, it can be a good time to introduce your student to limited access to a credit card. The Barnes & Noble MasterCard can be a great fit for college students and their parents who, like it or not, are spending a significant amount of money on school supplies, textbooks and books for school. Of course we don’t want our son to have debt outside his college loans. But establishing positive credit with a card designed for one specific use can go a long way to teaching him the ins and outs of managing his money. I was thrilled to learn that not only at our local Barnes & Noble but also on campus, our son has access to the following benefits when using the card:
- Get 5% back at Barnes & Noble when you use your card at any Barnes & Noble store or online at BN.com
- Earn a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card after your first purchase
- Automatically receive a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card every time you reach 2,500 points
- Earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent on all other purchases (excluding Barnes and & Noble purchases), even for everyday purchases like gas and groceries
- No annual fee
- Complimentary FICO® Credit Score
And let’s be honest, shopping at Barnes & Noble goes far beyond the book store, especially on a college campus. There you’ll find all kinds of spirit wear and university themed items that students love to have not only in their closets but also as decor. A visit to my local Barnes & Noble and I found some unexpected delights that I know my college student will appreciate too. Check it out!
Books: Nothing like stating the obvious huh? The thing is I really LOVE real books ~ the kind you can hold in your hand, turn real pages, dog ear and highlight if you want to because you own it. And I’ve done all I can to teach our kids to love them too. But high school and college kids can be SO busy and spend so much time online they might not remember how freeing it is to get lost in a book they love. To just sit and read because they want to, because they can. And when it comes to titles that interest teens and college kids, it can be great to start with pop culture like those shown above.
College Advice Books: From financial aid and scholarships to how to stay safe and adjust to an entirely new world, there are options for everything and they make a great high school graduation gift.
Testing Study Guides: I found every study guide imaginable to help students in high school AP courses. And the same is true for college testing prep for both the SAT and ACT. Like it or not, they require extensive studying and these resources go a LONG way to help you student prepare.
Toys and games: You’d be surprised at how much college students LOVE a life sized Storm Trooper ~ I kid you not the more the better!
Stationary and cards: Teaching your student to send cards to family and friends on special occasions along with making sure they send thank you notes is simply Manners 101. Barnes & Noble offers a plentiful supply of everything they need, no excuses allowed.
Trendy gifts and desk accessories: Show me a high school or college girl who doesn’t love a little Vera Bradley or a color Moleskin and I’d be shocked to know she exists!
Cookbooks: As soon as your college student moves off campus cooking daily is on them. If and how they choose to do this is entirely up to them but it can’t hurt to give them a little advice. You’ll find all kinds of great options and for fun, might include a few like these
Of course I’m old school and love to wander the store so I make them come with me to a brick and mortar location anytime I can! But there is no denying Barnes & Noble online offers thousands items that can make it especially easy for your college student to get what they need ordered and delivered right to campus. To find your local Barnes & Noble store, or shop online, visit www.BN.com And for more information about the Barnes & Noble MasterCard, or to apply, visit www.bncreditcard.com.
If I’ve learned nothing it’s that my kids are changing every day. And as they grow up and go on their way, its key that my husband and I help them learn to navigate their world. Back to campus season is full of teachable moments for that growing independence that high school and college bring. I’d love to know…
How to you handle back to campus shopping with your high school and college kids?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!