Enough though we still have a couple more weeks of summer to enjoy, we’re a family that thrives on routine. I know that everyone in my household will be ready to get into the school groove. Even though school doesn’t begin until the end of August, I am getting a jump-start on purchasing our back to school supplies. Part of the reason is because I do not want a repeat of what happened when my son was entering Kindergarten. Here’s my cautionary tale:
Having zero experience with getting my first child ready for school, I naively went to an office supply store the day before school started. Jackson and I entered the store hand in hand with our school supply list, and I wasn’t sure who was more eager to pick out his very first school supplies. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment as we walked around the store staring at the barren shelves and empty bins. Everything had been picked over. Waaaaaaa! I tried to remain calm as I cobbled together as many items as I could find on the list, all the while trying to assure my son that a pink glitter folder would be just fine (he didn’t buy it). Long story short, we raced around to three different stores to get everything we needed and I spent way more than I wanted to because all the items that were on sale had already been cleaned out.
It’s one of those experiences that I do not want to repeat, so I make it a point of going in early August. The good news is that all the stores are in step with Moms like me, and the sales and deals are waiting for you! All my tips are below, but I also did a quick TV segment on News 8 on ways to save money on supplies. If you are interested in seeing the video, below is a link you can click on to watch it:
| I want to foster excitement about back to school by letting Jackson select some of the supplies he needs |
Our school offers the option to purchase pre-packaged supplies by grade, but I like giving my kiddos the option of choosing the items they want. We make a deal whereby I pick out the generic items like pencils, highlighters, glue sticks, lined paper, composition notebooks, etc. and they get to choose the colors of the binders and folders. I’ve been keeping my eye on all the Back To School sales, the big box stores like Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart and office supply stores like OfficeMax and Staples are all having HUGE sales! We ended up going to Staples for everything, they had all the school supplies we needed and if you purchased a new backpack, you would get an additional 25% off school supplies – which are already deeply discounted.
Here are some tips for saving on Back To School supplies:
- Keep on eye on all the big box stores and office supply stores for sales, if you “like” their Facebook page, you will be alerted to all their sales and specials. Starting in early August, all of these stores are offering sales on supplies.
- Once you have chosen where to buy your back to school supplies, get a coupon flyer, the flyers are typically available at the entrance of the stores. Many of these flyers will inform you of sales, BOGO (buy one, get one free), bulk items, and weekly steals.
- Most stores will offer deep discounts on basic school supplies, and I’ve found that it is not worth shopping around for crayons, notebooks, or pens. Instead, I focus on looking for sales on the bigger ticket items like backpacks, lunch boxes, and for the older student, I look for deals on calculators and electronic devices.
- When purchasing a backpack, make sure that you look for one that will fit the needs of your student. I’ve got a 4 year-old and a 12 year-old and their backpack needs are vastly different. Catherine needs an inexpensive, lightweight backpack that can hold a folder (the folder is used to send information back and forth from the school to the home). The folder should be plastic and not paper, the paper folder will not last long due to the amount of use. In addition to holding a plastic folder, the only other item that needs to fit in her backpack is her lunch bag and snack. Jackson on the other hand, needs a strong and well made backpack. He has to bring many more items to and from school, including binders, pencil cases, books, electronic devices, lunch bag and snack. His backpack can get very heavy, so I make it a priority to select a backpack that has adjustable shoulder straps that are padded. I blogged about The Best School Backpack and it includes what to look for when purchasing a backpack, how to pack a backpack and most importantly, how to adjust a backpack so it fits your student properly.
- Dollar stores are another great resource for purchasing school supplies! They will offer less variety, but if your student isn’t particular about the color of their notebooks, these stores are an option.
| Staples is offering ah-mazing deals! |
| while shopping, look for signs for Hot Deals |
| Done! Our shopping cart filled with school supplies |
| Back home, Jackson is getting his supplies organized |