Ok, it is that time of year again and as one tired mom, I am kinda glad. I love having the kids home for the summer but it can wear you out with all the activities that keep them busy. So, cheers to school starting again in a few weeks, even if I have to go back to getting up before the rooster again…
Since school will be starting soon, it is time to start looking at school supply shopping. Actually, I started back to school shopping a week or two ago when the deals started to come out. But, here are some tips to help you out as you tackle this project:
1) Take an inventory – There is no need to buy what you already have. Every year the school supply list show up with items that can roll from one year to the next. You do not need to buy new scissors each year or a new ruler, since the one from last year should still be in good enough shape to move on to this year.
2) Make a list of what you really NEED, not WANT – I take a look at the school supply list and figure out what the kids really NEED. It says they NEED a 3 ring binder but it does not say they need a $15 Trapper Keeper in the latest fashion.
3) Pay attention to the sales – I peruse the ads each week in a casual way looking for a good price on what the kids need for school. I do not buy everything all at once but gradually over a few weeks as the sales come up. I was at Kroger today and saw that they had Folders w/pockets and prongs for $.15 each. I knew the kids each need 3 for school so I picked them up while I was there. I was shopping at Publix last week and glue sticks were $.67/3 pack so I picked up a few packages. I will keep looking for deals like this for the next few weeks and pick them up piece by piece until I am done.
4) Stock up for later in the year or even next year – As you find good sales on things that the kids will use a lot of, like glue sticks, you can stock up on them for replenishment during the year. This will save you money 6 months from now when the kids need glue sticks and they are full price at the store. This works even better if you can scoop up a lot of after back to school clearance when supplies go super cheap. I still have 8 boxes of crayons that I got for free last year from Kroger when they were clearancing them out.
5) Coupon – There are coupons to be had for school supplies. I recently bought 8 dry erase markers and 4 highlighters for $1 because they were on sale and I had a coupon for $5 off expo/sharpie products. I have also gotten lots of free or almost free supplies this way but the key is to combine the coupon with a sale. There are times when I have had to hang onto a coupon for months waiting for the right time to use it. I have the belief that if you see a coupon that you think there is even a remote chance you will use, grab it and see what happens.
6) When it matters, buy quality – My last tip has to do with saving money in the long term by buying something that will last. My kids have had the same book bags for years because I bought ones that will last. Both LL Bean and Lands End are great for purchasing book bags and lunch boxes that will keep going from year to year and they even guarantee their products. Even though these items cost more on the onset, not having to replace them every year (or even more often than that) is a real money saver.
Using these tips, you should be able to get your school supplies for relatively little money. I have not added it up but I would guess that I have spent less than $10 for school supplies and I only have 4 items left on the list. So, grab your list and go get your kids their school supplies. There are only 16 days left until school starts but hey, who’s counting?