It’s true, those back to school supplies are already out. How is that even possible? Here in the Pacific NW summer is just getting under way, or so it seems.
But they are there and they are ready for the picking. Some people will see them and jump right in and get it done and move on with summer, others will pretend they aren’t there and wait until the day before school starts.
Then there is the rest of us, how will we do it? Well something like this:
1. Watch ads and watch for great sales – this will probably mean you need to pick up items as you see them, but we do have time on our hands.
2. Watch a few different stores - You don’t need to get everything at Staples or Target, take your time to shop around.
3. Grocery Stores – When you make your grocery list check your store for school supply sales as well.
4. Don’t get impatient, we have lots of time.
5. Don’t feel the need to drag it out either – if you see something that is a killer deal, by all means get it. If you see something next to it at a good price, pick it up too.
6. Remember to save your receipts, all things can be returned if you for some reason find it at a different store.
7. Save your receipts for price adjustments. Check each stores policy. Target’s is 7 days, where Fred Meyer’s is 14 days.
8. Get the bare basics - get what you need then wait for school to start and stock up when things start going on clearance. Yep, I am the mom that showed up on the first day of school with 12 pencils for my kids instead of 48. They eventually make their way in.
9. Always be on the look out – I noticed this year in January they had a “refresh your stock” sale. I didn’t get anything because there were no needs, but then I saw them all go on clearance. I am well stocked on paper and pens right now.
10. Coupons and rebates – Yep even for school supplies. You will need to watch for them carefully and I will try and point them out when I see them. I am currently holding one and had I jumped on the right sale I could have gotten my pens for FREE.
11. Watch for clearance - even during the whole back to school sale, watch places like Target, they tend to put things on clearance.
12. Always have your school supply list - I keep a school supply list with me all year long and I watch for things. My kids are teenagers and after a while you begin to just know what they need. When my kids were younger and money was super tight, I had the school send me the list way before they put it out just so I could start watching.
13. Watch for specials online – I have teenagers, the list changes. We no longer need crayons we need $100 calculators. No, I am not kidding. Watch for online specials at Staples and other supply stores and don’t forget to use Ebates to get cash back on these purchases.
14. Watch for backpacks throughout the year. I usually can keep this cost low and rarely do I buy one in July/August.
15. Don’t Always Look for the Best – these are school supplies that are sometimes shared. Don’t feel like you need to get your child the top quality, highest rated crayons or pencils. They will lose them.
16. Check Ebay and Used Book sites for college books.
I know what you are thinking right now. Who would have ever thought getting school supplies for cheap would be so much work? Well, yes it does take some time, but think of it as a game. I have done this for so many years that I kind of find it challenging.
Last year I couldn’t physically do this method, so I just went in and bought everything at one store. OMG! I had no idea how much I was saving until it did it differently.
How much do you usually spend on back to school supplies?