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Back to school deals
It’s only the beginning of August, and I cringe to say it, but summer is almost over. School starts in a couple of weeks and preparation looms on the horizon. But, on a positive note, there are deals out there to be had. Plenty of deals. And, I’ve spent way too much money in the past on school supplies, and this year, I am vowing to spend a lot less. Thankfully, there are stores out there that are willing to help.
Take inventory of what you already own
There’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing an item and going home to find junior already has three of the same item in the back of his closet.
Get the kids to search high and low for the supplies they have leftover from last year. You might be able to reuse some things, and you might be surprised at what is left.
Some stores will allow you to bring in used items in exchange for a discount. For example, OfficeMax/Office Depot will give you $2 toward a new binder if you bring in the old one. (Always double check with your local store, as some stores might have a different policy).
Search for sales before leaving the house
Getting on the Internet and searching for sales is key here. If you want to save money, plan ahead and make a list. OfficeMax/Office Depot has some great sales going on right now. Fortunately, they list their sales flyer on the web, and you can flip through and see what they have to offer. Keep in mind that they don’t list everything in the flyer, and once you get to the store, you will find plenty more good deals.
Most stores will only post the current flyer, but at the end of last week, OfficeMax/Office Depot posted the following week’s flyer. I was able to hold off on some purchases, and go back when the new flyer started and save even more on back-to-school items.
Some stores even carry local school’s supply lists. Ours wasn’t there, but you can grab another school’s list and be fairly confident you will have a similar list.
From one store I brought home all of the items in the picture for $36.87. If I hadn’t gone in for the sales, I would have spent $179.85. So, I saved a whopping $142.98! And, as my husband always says, “That will buy a lot of bologna.”
I brought home some of the following:
- 2 SanDisk USB Flash drives (these alone are worth a trip to the store).
- 3 packs of Ticonderoga pencils (12 in each pack)
- 3 packs of Uniball pens (4 in each pack)
- Glue sticks
- Composition folders
- Index cards
- Much more!
Get a subscription to the Sunday newspaper with coupon and flyer inserts
Having a subscription to a local newspaper with coupons and inserts will always pay off. (Check out Groupon and see if you can get a subscription for a lower price).
The Sunday paper will have most of the flyers, inserts, and coupons. You will be able to compare prices at the different stores before driving around looking for deals.
Try to time the sales with the tax-free weekend
Many states offer a tax-free weekend before school starts. If you are purchasing large items for school, such as computers, you might be able to save quite a bit in the long run if you don’t have to pay a tax on the item. But, read the fine print and make sure the item you are looking at qualifies for tax-free.
Compare prices online before you buy
Take the time to compare prices. You will be amazed at the savings you will find. I bought my son a backpack on Amazon that ended up costing almost $50 less than the same backpack in the store.
My kids love this High Sierra Backpack. We bought one for my older son last year, and he is using it again this year. So, we decided to get one for my other son. The backpacks have a lot of hidden pockets, and places to keep books, computers, phones, sunglasses, water bottles, etc. They have a lot of styles to choose from. Last year seemed to be crazy busy before school started and I didn’t get a lot of time to go school supply shopping. Amazon offers packs of school supplies here. It’s a great way to get the supplies for a low price if you don’t have a lot of time to shop.
Don’t forget about the dollar stores
The dollar stores offer low prices throughout the year. Stocking up on pencils, rulers, crayons, folders, and more throughout the year is an excellent way to keep costs down, and be prepared when school starts.
Follow the stores on Twitter and Facebook
Many of the stores will send their followers coupons, advanced sales information, and special deals. Here are some links:
Shopping for school supplies doesn’t have to be scary. Get on out there and see how much you can save. Share your savings in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.