As a money saving mom, I know how to pinch a penny and spy a bargain. This year, I have had great luck with saving a lot of money on items on my child’s school supplies list. Below I outline 10 tips for saving money on school supplies. From cherry picking to organizing a school supply posse to round up bargains, I’ll share the best tips for saving money on school supplies.
Save money on back to school supplies: I get by with a little help from my friends
Tip 1: Ask your friends to keep an eye out for deals on common items. I asked some friends to let me know where I could get some cheap dry erase markers and one alerted me to the Staples ad for next week where a 3 pack will be free after Easy Rebate.
Tip 2: Shop with your spouse/friend. Sometimes there are limits on items and each of you are separate customers. If you want twice as many of an item that is ridiculously cheap, take your spouse along to the store to shop with you (but separately).
Tip 3: Suggest to your friends that if they see cheap school supplies, pick them up and then swap later on. If one mom visits one store for its loss leaders while another hits another store, sharing the bounty is a time saver and money saver. Chances are you can swap out pretty even money-wise.
Save money on back to school supplies: Become a cherry picker and ad watcher
Tip 4: Lately, Staples has had a $5 off coupon in their ad. If you had been planning to buy something at Staples, now is the time. Load up on Easy Rebate items to boost your total and use that coupon to offset the cost of some school supplies.
Tip 5: Cherry pick from all ads and pay close attention to CVS. They have been offering some school supplies for free after Extra Bucks. Walgreens, too, has been advertising deals on school supplies. Drug stores are notorious for overpriced stationary goods, but back to school supplies have been heavily discounted in ads recently.
Save money on back to school supplies: Quality counts… and can you spot a bargain?
Tip 6: In order to save money on back to school supplies, you need to know what a good price is on an item. For instance, is $1 a ream a good price on filler paper? Perhaps, but isn’t 50 cents better? Watch the sales papers carefully and shop for the best price. Many stores are running limited time sales on back to school staples. Planning your shopping during the sale dates can save a lot of money.
Tip 7: Know when to spend on quality. A pack of crayons for 20 cents may seem like a steal, but your great deal could go bust if the crayons aren’t well made. Cheaper, non-brand name crayons are not the same high quality that you’d expect from Crayola, which may cost more.
Save money on back to school supplies: Fall clearance is only a few weeks away… and plan for next year
Tip 8: Back to school generally clearances out in places like Target a few weeks after school starts. Some back to school supplies store better than others. Generally paper stores well, but glue sticks do not. Pencils and pens are also a safe bet. Grab those clearanced out items and stash them in a closet for next year. Also, by the time Christmas comes, there may be some items you may wish to use as stocking stuffers.
Tip 9: Your school’s class supplies list likely doesn’t change each year. Grab an extra list at the store and save it for next year so that you can get a head start on next year’s list.
Tip 10: Do you have a Discover Card or another credit card that gives cash back or enables you to cash in for gift cards? At Discover, you can trade $20 in cash back rewards for a $25 Staples gift card. Keep credit card rewards programs in mind for next year’s back to school purchases.