10 School Supply Shopping Tips to Save More & Stress Less

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school supply tips
School Supply prices have risen dramatically in the past few years.  Here are some tips to help you save more money without all the stress.

  • You don’t have to shop at all the stores every week to find the best deals! Buddy up with a friend.  Make your lists together from the ads and each shop at 2 different stores, then settle up and trade items later. Or ride together and have fun visiting while you get the best prices.
  • Don’t shop for supplies on tax free weekend.  Typically the sales aren’t as good because the lure of “tax free” will bring the shoppers in the door.  This means that even with the tax savings you’ll spend more money.
  • No one wants to spend $1.25 on a 24 ct. box of crayons in March, so buy extras of basic supplies.  It never hurts to have a couple extra boxes of crayons @ $.25 each or packs of pencils that were $.01 a pencil.
  • Use my weekly price comparison sheet to see which – if any- stores are worth making a stop at. Despite advertising slogans Walmart does NOT always have the lowest price. My comparison sheet shows you the Walmart price of each item so you’ll know if a sale price at another store is better.  I’d recommend keeping all the items you buy from one store in the same bag with the receipt so it’s easy to tell what goes with what.
    But be sure to value your time.  It’s not worth the extra 30 minutes, gas, and mileage to make an extra stop to save $.50. If you’ll save $3 or $4 in 30 minutes it’s worth an extra stop. It’s ok to not get the lowest price possible on every item!  Put your time where you’ll save the most money.
  • Don’t unwrap and write your child’s name on the supplies until after open house.  You may find that your child’s teacher says that they have paint in art class and so they don’t need it in the regular classroom.  Or she might say that she’s overrun with kleenex from last year, but could really use extra dry erase markers instead.  Saving your receipt is critical. It’s fairly common in the early grades to have all scissors or pencils etc go into a classroom supply instead of individual boxes.
  • Shop without your young children.  We all know how excited they get about buying their school supplies.  Most kids will want the shiniest and brightest items that also have the highest price tags.  “See not, want not” definitely applies here.  Some schools/teachers also prohibit folders or pencils with special images.
  • If supplies with special images are allowed, consider buying just the basics of each item and letting your child have a character backpack or lunch box for a more personalized item.  Which will make more impact: 3 shiny character notebooks for $1.97 each instead of $.15 or a character backpack for an extra $5?
  • If your child can make do with last years lunchbox or backpack for a little while, hold out on buying a new one until the 50% off, 75% off or 90% off sales in September.  Better yet, make do all year but buy one this September for next year.  Likewise, don’t be tempted to buy an entirely new wardrobe on tax free weekend. Chances are the clothes will be outgrown before they’ve been worn enough to justify the cost.
  • Some items are just plain cheap in quality.  If your child breaks his/her scissors every year, buy a different brand.  Generally stick with the brand requested by the school for scissors and similar items.
  • If you must shop at Walmart, you may find the office supply section to be less crowded, which means less stress. Items in the office supply section may not be priced on the shelf with the back to school pricing but the same items will scan at the same price.

Work smarter, not harder. If you’re using school supply price sheets and not chasing every single deal, you’ll find the list checked off slowly but surely and your checking account no worse for the wear 😉

This post is being linked up at  Inspiration MondayPin It Tuesday, and Works for Me Wednesday

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