10 Ten Tips for Saving Money for Back To School

Twitter Moms and Staples are always on the look out to save you money when shopping for school and office supplies.  So they are asking the blogging community to share tips on how we save money when going back to school shopping.

Since we homeschool, we don’t have to get the “goods” right away for that “first day”, so we end up saving a lot throughout the year on supplies for schooling.  Here are some of my tips:

1. Buy a good backpack – I know the $10 backpacks look like a great deal, but when you have to replace it midway through the year, and then have to pay full price for another one, the deal wasn’t so great.  Invest in a good one, that you could get on sale for about 1/2 price before school starts.  It might mean spending $25 – $40, but you’ll save money in the long run.

2. The List is not always the best – Generally the lists that you find in the stores for your child’s school or district are not comprehensive or the teacher wants something different.  So save yourself the money and only buy the essentials up front.  You know your kids will need notebooks, pencils and rulers, so buy those.  Leave the other things that can wait through the first week, and find out if the teacher wants specific colors or sizes.  Then you won’t be over buying.  Chances are you’ll be going back to the store for additional items that the teacher requests anyway.

3. Shop for items all year round – Because schools are all on a different schedule, chain stores will often have bargains mid-year, when semesters end or begin.  When you see the notebooks on sale for 10¢ a piece, snag a dozen.  You know you’ll use them and they won’t go bad.  Then in March when your kids say they need some notebooks, you won’t have to pay $1.00 a piece for them.

4. You may have some of what you need at home already – check your child’s art supplies at home, or in your office.  Perhaps there is a pack of pencils that haven’t been opened, or markers from last year that still have ink.  Don’t buy what you already have unless you can get it very cheap.

5. Shop on Tax Free Day – our state doesn’t offer this, but there are some which do.  If your state offers a tax free day before school starts, take advantage of it.  Combined with sales and/or coupons, you’ll likely save another 5% or more.

6. Take advantage of Coupons – especially from Target.com.  There are a couple of printable coupons every week starting in July for Bic, Papermate, etc.  that you can use to your advantage.  Combining those coupons with sales, will net you cheap or even free school supplies.  I picked up Bic pencils for 20¢ a pack and Papermate pens for free last week.

7. Make Your Own – Lunch bags that is!  Licensed lunch bags can come at a price.  Buy a solid colored one, and let your kids decorate them.  Let their creative juices flow, and they’ll also be proud to carry their lunch in something they made.  It’s also cheaper on mom’s wallet!

8. Price Matching – Don’t run from store to store, organize all your flyers and then go to one store that price matches, you’ll be saving time, gas, and you’ll probably be less frustrated over all.

9. Clothes Shopping – Consignment stores are a good place to get nearly new clothes (especially designer ones) at a fraction of the original cost.  Want new?  Target and Walmart usually have great prices on jeans ($8 – $10).  Another tip is buy all the same socks, especially if your kids wear the same size.  Then when you do laundry it’s a lot easier to match them and give them each their allotted number!

10. Tell them to pony up – your kids that is.  If they are insistent on having licensed goods, or designer clothes.  Tell them that you will pay for what a basic item would cost, and they can pay the difference.  Some might actually do it, my kid won’t! LOL.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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