It’s that time of year, summer is winding down and it’s time to go back to school. While it’s fun to think about getting a new backpack, that first day of school outfit and a fresh box of crayons… it all adds up. So here are some tips to help you save on back to school supplies shopping.
Easy Tips to Save on Back to School Supplies
Use What You Have
Gasp, you mean don’t buy all new items? You mean send that 3/4 full glue bottle back to school this year. YES! At the end of each school year I go through all the “used” school supplies that get sent home. Things like scissors, never opened glue sticks, and even notebooks (just tear out the 10 pages that were used) all go in a bag to pull out for the next school year.
Stick to a List
If it’s not specifically on the school supply list for your child- don’t buy it. If the list calls for a regular 3 ring binder, don’t buy a zippered one. I take a picture of each list on my phone, so I always have it handy. As I purchase items (since I buy all season long, not just one trip) I mark them off and then take a new picture. Sticking to the list also means brand name. There are certain items- crayons and markers for example- that really are better quality in a name brand. And if you watch those sales, you can get them cheaper than generic or dollar store too! (Check out this Facebook Live video around the 6 min mark)
Shop The Back to School Sales
Every week on Mission to Save during back to school season, I list the best school supply sales. I also link back to full lists. If you look at school supply shopping as a marathon (shopping the best deals over the course of the season) instead of a sprint (last min one time trip)- you will get the most savings. And it’s really not that hard, afterall I tell you what to buy! (Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to see those deals each week).
Stack Up the Savings
You know couponers love to stack! That means using sales promotions, coupons and rebates to stack up the savings! There are almost always pen/pencil brand coupons in the newspaper inserts during back to school season. Pair those with a super low sale price and you can often get the items for FREE! (I show you how in a Facebook Live video here around 4:20 mark)
OfficeMax/Office Depot and Staples often have awesome back to school sale items. But they may be a little out of your way to snag just those few items. So try price matching at Target or Walmart. The key to price matching is finding the exact same item (if the sale price is on a 10 ct, you can’t use it on a 12 ct). Also, most times those “penny deal” items will not match since they require a minimum purchase. Another way to price match is at Staples. Usually they offer a 110% price match guarantee on items during back to school. That means you will get an even better price.
And here are some “Extra Credit” Tips! 😉
Try Walmart Grocery Pickup
If you have a few more items you need to grab. Skip the full shopping trip and try Walmart Grocery Pickup. This service, not yet available in all locations, is perfect for those last minute items. Yes, school supplies are included. Fill your cart online, choose pick up time and then you don’t even have to get out of the car! And how about prices- pretty good! In fact, right now they have Crayola crayons for $0.50 (see better than dollar store generic). Plus new shoppers can save $10 off a $50 purchase. See details on the offer here.
Shop Tax Free Holiday Weekend for Back to School Savings
Many states offer a Tax Free Holiday weekend. These weekends help families save even more on their clothing and school supply purchases. (Another way to “stack”). Be sure to check on the specific details for your state (what os included and price limits). Here is a list of states offering Tax Free weekends and here are some tips for shopping Ohio’s Tax Holiday. (2016 dates: Aug 5-7)
Watch my NBC4 segment with Dave Maza as I talk about about my Back to School Savings Strategy.