Back To School Style on a Budget

back to school style

A sense of excitement lingers in the air when it’s time to head back to school! There’s nothing quite like a fresh wardrobe, new set of decor, and trendy supplies to kick start the year. With so many items to keep track of, such as textbooks, bedding, and wardrobe essentials, costs quickly add up. Going back to school doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, though.

I’ve picked up tips-and-tricks throughout the years that allow me to return to school feeling chic but also getting every penny’s worth. I’m breaking down affordable, back-to-school shopping based on the three categories of wardrobe, home, and supplies. Keep reading to find out what my go-to stores are and how to get the most bang for your buck!


I don’t know about you, but I use the start of a new school year as an excuse to buy clothes. We all know that feeling of wanting to go back sporting only the sweetest looks.

Since coming to college, my priorities have changed a bit in regard to my wardrobe. Although I’m always on the hunt for trendy pieces, finding items I can easily mix-and-match is the real task at hand. Being practical and stylish can sometimes pose a challenge, but it’s important to look for basic items that can take you from class, work, the gym, to even a night out.

back to school style

Some of my go-to stores include Madewell, Gap, and Forever 21! They offer a variety of high-quality essentials that are cute and comfortable.

Although Madewell and Gap are on the pricier side, they’re the perfect places for everyday and professional clothing. Whether I’m heading to my internship or going to class, I can count on them to dress me.

Forever 21 is a one-stop shop for everything you may need, as well. From workout gear to lounge and party attire, this place has it all! My trick to navigating this store is to go in knowing what I need and why, and letting the shopping adventure take its course from there.


When it comes to college living, we have to get creative about our space. We don’t have much room to go all out on decor, but we still want it to feel like home.

One of the greatest hacks I’ve picked up over the years is using storage as decor. I always look for pieces, such as wire baskets or mason jars, that hold my items and serve as decorations.

back to school style

I also recommend hanging up chalkboards and whiteboards around your room. This is one of my favorite ways to add a dynamic element to the space while also spicing things up. I write everything from inspirational quotes to calendars here.

back to school style

When it comes to decor, I have a tendency of wanting to go overboard. A quick surf on Pinterest and I want it all! However, having a college budget means I must be intentional about the pieces I purchase.

My favorite stores for decorating are HomeGoods, The Container Store, Target, and Kohls. These places always have great sales when the school year rolls around and offer enough variety to ensure your room will feel like your very own.

School Supplies

I can never quite get into work mode without the help of some trendy supplies. It’s amazing how motivated I become when I have a cute pen and chic notebook in my hands.

Although school supplies are meant for work, I believe it’s okay to incorporate a little play into them, too. When you’re walking through the aisles of Office Depot and Paper Source, keep your eyes out for brand collaborations.

back to school style

It’s becoming more popular for social media influencers and supply companies to work together to create the cutest products. Some of my favorite supply partnerships are with Lauren Conrad and Martha Stewart.

I think it’s okay to splurge when it comes to school supplies! Anything that keeps you productive and organized helps lead you to success; therefore, it’s worth your while. That’s why I enjoy looking for fun folders and agenda accessories.

Do what you need to stay excited and in the zone!

Going back to school may be stressful, but it can also be invigorating when you’re feeling fun and fashionable! I hope you found these ideas helpful and use them to kick start your year.