Ways to Save Money on School Supplies
Yep, I said it……….Back to School! As a teacher, it’s a bitter-sweet string of words:) This year I will not only be shopping for my class, but also for my own first-grader. Here are a few helpful tips to save money on your school shopping.
1. Shop with a plan. Request your child’s class supply list. Sure, you can purchase the basics (pencils, pens, folders, glue sticks, etc). However, hold off on the big or specific purchases. I know that our sixth grade requires specific binders. My kindergartner has a specific rounded pair of scissors. I also do not have students purchase pencil pouches. I pass out standard gallon-sized freezer bags. They are sturdy and hold everything. When they rip or are worn, students get another.
2. Shop Early. Starting immediately after July 4th will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Giving yourself a longer period of time will not only be easier on the budget, but will let you be selective with prices. Sales taper off the two weeks before school starts. I will be covering back-to-school shopping lists. Make sure to look for the stars indicating Top Deals at Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring.
3. Look for Loss-Leaders. A loss-leader is a product that the retailer takes a “loss” on in order to get the consumer in the door, such as penny sales. Stick to those loss-leaders. Just because they offer a few exceptionally-priced items, it’s not your one-stop shop. If you are a school employee, you can take advantage of more than the limit. Staples and Office Max allow for larger quantities with proof of employment.
4. Shop the Drugstores. The drugstores have phenomenal deals on school supplies that are usually tied to a reward (+UP, Register Reward, ECB). You are able to snag office supplies, snacks, organizers, antibacterial wipes, tissues and more. Use your “drugstore reward money” to defray the costs of more expensive items like lunchboxes, locker accessories, Expo markers, or book bags.
5. Wait it Out. After the kids go back to school and the dust has settled, popular licensed items such as lunchboxes and bookbags are a guaranteed clearance because a new trend will be in next year. If your child comes home and JUST has to have such and such because so and so has one, it’s probably a trendy item that will be clearanced. If you’re an Amazon shopper, do a search of a specific item early on and Amazon will “suggest” that item to you when there is a price change.
6. Stockpile. Now is the time to stockpile on school supplies for the year. Just like your socks magically disappear in the dryer, kids’ school supplies disappear. I can attest, sometimes in thin air! Common requests include gluesticks (#1), pencils, red pens, paper, 3 ring folders, highlighters, colored pencils, Sharpies. Even though I also provide a class supply center for those who need supplies, I ran out in March of most of my supplies. July and August are also perfect times to stockpile on dry food items such as cereal, breakfast pastries, granola bars, fruit snacks, juice boxes, peanut butter and sport drinks. Most have a long shelf life..
Share your Deals. You would be surprised at how many students do not come to school prepared. I work in a respected district and I provided for 1/3 of my students last year. In addition, I have snacks and crackers for students who do not eat breakfast (very common). I also provide tissues, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, organizers, band aids, colored paper, and cleaning supplies (that’s not even covering academic supplies). School budgets are at an all-time minimum. If you have extras, send it in with a note or drop it off at a church or pantry. It will be appreciated. Remember there is always a family that has it worse than your family.
How do you save money on school supplies?