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With so many backpack deals available right now, it’s a great time to shop for a new school bag.
I’m partial to shopping on Amazon for school supplies because of their ongoing 20% off promotion (more details below). They also have a pretty good selection of laptop backpacks and multipurpose bags. All without having to fight the crowds in a physical store for back-to-school supplies.
And I know first-hand how tight a college kid’s budget can be. (Yep, I too lived off ramen and $1 gas station coffees because that’s all I could afford). So here are my tips, as a former broke university student, for getting the most cost-effective school bag. I also found some inexpensive options, starting at just a little over $15.
Probably the most important feature of a college backpack is its ability to safely store a laptop. Because between writing papers, library study sessions, and taking notes, a laptop is a must. Luckily, a good laptop bag doesn’t have to cost you a ton. Options below start at just $15 and some change. And, all are on sale, some are seeing discounts for as much as 42% off.
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TSA-Approved College Backpacks
I went to school 1,500 miles away from my hometown, so for me, having a backpack that was practical for travel was a must. This also came in clutch when studying abroad and taking trips on Spring Break. If you have to fly to get to campus, then I’d recommend an airline-approved backpack. Especially because many airlines are getting more strict with personal item sizes and are introducing restrictions on the types of internal charging devices they allow onboard. All these backpacks are TSA-approved to save you headaches when flying to school. All are available for less than $40, making them super affordable. And, some are on sale for as much as 25% off.
College Backpacks That Double as Gym Bags
All of the backpacks below have separate compartments for gym shoes because trust me, a pair of tennis shoes can get dirt all over your books and stink up the main compartment of your bag real quick. And, of course, they all have laptop pockets so they’re still functional for school too.
Another perk of getting a multifunctional backpack is that you won’t need to buy a second gym bag, saving you money in the long run. All of these options are under $40 too, keeping them well within budget.
Backpacks with Built-in Lunchboxes
Meal plans aren’t always in the budget (mine cost $16 per meal). Students can save money and time by bringing lunch instead. Pro tip: get a backpack with a built-in, insulated lunchbox compartment. That way you save money by not buying a separate lunchbox or shelling out big bucks on a meal plan.
Luckily, these picks are all under $50 and all are on sale. Some even have discounts of as much as 20% off.
How to Get the Best Price on Amazon College Backpacks
When it comes to shopping for college backpacks, there are a few ways you can get the most bang for your buck. Here’s what you need to know:
Amazon runs Prime member-exclusive promotions around back-to-school season. Currently, Prime members can get 20% off when they spend $50 on qualifying school supplies and everyday necessities. You can check which items are eligible on the offer’s landing page. Just note that the 20% savings only applies to purchases between $50 and $500. If you spend more than $500, you can still only save $100.
Another way to save money is to check for coupons on the product listing or check the prices of different color options of the same product. Unlike shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, prices vary based on the color of the product. If a retailer notices they have too much stock in one color in particular, they’ll likely put that color on sale. Use that to your advantage by picking the least expensive color for a product you like.
Lastly, opt for a multipurpose bag. If your college backpack also doubles as a gym bag, lunchbox, and carry-on, you won’t have to spend money on those other items. How do you know if you’re getting the most cost-effective option? Think of how many use-case scenarios that item has. If you can find three different ways to use it, it’s likely to be a solid choice.