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I can’t believe that kids will be going back to school next month! Time just flies by. Getting everything they need for school can be expensive but I have some great tips if you want to save on school supplies this year. Hopefully, these tips can help everyone stick to a budget no matter if you are just getting started or you are almost done with all of your back-to-school shopping. Here is how I save on school supplies.
Shop Your House
The first thing you do before you even head out to the stores, is to shop your own house. Look in all of the closets and backpacks from last year to take inventory of what you already have. You can reuse calculators, rulers, and even backpacks from last year if they are still in good shape. That is less that you have to buy and backpacks and lunchboxes may only need a quick cleaning and they are as good as new. My advice is to get a clear storage container and keep all of the school supplies in there. That way at the end of the year, all of the unused supplies can be thrown in there for next year and you will know where everything is.
Shop the Big 3
The 3 stores that always have the best school supplies deals are Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples. They have great deals on school supplies every week, they usually start after July 4th. You can get a lot of items for 1 cent! You usually have to make a $5 purchase to get the penny items but that is easy to do if you grab other items that are on sale for $0.25!
Even better, you don’t have to drive all around town to hit up all 3 stores. Staples has a 110% Price Match. So if you find a cheaper price on an item they will match the price and give you a 10% discount! Plus, if you find a lower price within 14 days of your purchase, they will refund you the difference. The same goes for Office Depot/Max but they will only price match, not give you the extra 10% discount.
Before you had out to the stores, make sure you sign up for their rewards programs. They are free and Staples Rewards gives you 5% in rewards back on everything you buy and free shipping online. Office Depot/Max Rewards gives you 10% back on paper, ink, and toner. Plus, you get special offers and birthday rewards.
Just keep an eye on the weekly ads and shop every week to get the best deals. I suggest going the first day of the ad if it is possible because the penny items go really fast! Hopefully, you have at least one of these stores close by.
Shop for the whole year, not just the first few months. You know you will need a lot of pens, pencils, paper, etc. When you can get those items for under 25 cents, stock up! This time of year is when prices are at the lowest so get enough to last the whole school year so you don’t have to pay $5 for something that was on sale for 50 cents.
Don’t Buy Trendy Items
Yes, your daughter loves Justin Bieber right now but what about in 6 months? Kid’s trends change so quick that you want to stick to things that are basic. You can get a plain white notebook that your kids can decorate themselves instead of getting one that has Star Wars all over it. It will be a lot cheaper and your kids can change the look of it whenever they want.
I have found that you can get the best deals on school uniforms at The Children’s Place. They always have sales going on and check out Retailmenot.com to see the latest discount codes you can add on top of those sales for even more savings. If you don’t mind your kids wearing gently used clothing, you can check out ThredUP (you get $10 in credit when you sign up) and Schoola ( you get $15 in credit when you sign up) for some great deals on school uniforms. A lot of the items still have the tags on them!
You don’t need to have a kid in school to snag these great deals either. I stock up on office supplies this time of year and I love donating the penny items to my local “School Tools” drive. If you have any other tips to save on school supplies please share them below. I would love to hear how you save.