Saving Money on School Supplies

Every year, the list of school supplies seems to get longer. There are ways to minimize the expense of school supplies while still getting everything your child needs. This is a guide about saving money on school supplies.
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August 23, 2011 Flag
11 found this helpful

Now is a perfect time to take advantage of some really great sales bargains, not just for back to school supplies for your children, but also for your own home office needs. This time of year is when I stock up on anything from printer paper, note pads, post it notes, pens and pencils, to items such as scotch tape, staples, and glue. Comparison shop at assorted stores and you'll be surprised that you can easily purchase a year worth of supplies for up to 75% off.

By Deeli from Richland, WA

August 29, 20110 found this helpful

Do you know where I can get a discount on lobster? I tried K-Mart and Big Lots but no luck

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August 29, 20110 found this helpful

May 24, 2012 Flag
11 found this helpful

Sending a child to school is so expensive! At the beginning of the school year the school sends you a list of things the child will need. Parents rush out with this list, piling their baskets high. Add new clothes to the mix and you are going to shell out a lot of money. And at the end of the year these supplies come home and most of the time, are forgotten.

After raising three children, and retiring, I find myself the mother to an 8 year old. And I have learned to send this little lady to school, and to do it frugally. My daughter is very well dressed and has plenty of top notch supplies. And here are some of the ways I do it:

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Yesterday my daughters school year ended and she cleaned out her desk, coming home with her backpack bulging. Time to prepare for next year. I unloaded it and separated things into piles, "reuse next year", "let her use this summer", and "trash." A lot of items the school requests in certain amounts, but the kids end up not using them.

The colors that were mismatched and broken, my daughter can use them this summer. Half used color books and workbooks were placed in the use this summer pile.

The plastic pencil box had color marks on it, but otherwise was in fine shape. A little hot water and a quick rub with a Magic Eraser made it as good as new; it can be reused next year.

My daughter not only had a rather large amount of glue sticks unused, but several that she had used maybe once. Several sticks were pretty well emptied and they went to the trash. A cotton ball saturated with rubbing alcohol took off the excess glue, and her name written on them with Magic Marker. I allowed them to dry, re-wrote her name, and placed them in baggies. This August I won't need to buy them, either.

The same with lead pencils, erasers, and her scissors. Smudges and dried glue wiped off with an alcohol soaked cotton ball. They won't need replacing, either.

My daughter prefers to take her lunch. Her insulated lunch bag was looking pretty rough, but I was amazed at how nice it ended up looking after a rubbing with Fels Naptha soap and a run in the washer. Her sandwich box and large mouth thermos received a good scrubbing, too. They all look new again.

The backpack is pretty ragged, but it will work to carry things with her on little trips this summer.

After all the reusable items were cleaned and packed in a box, it was time to check out the closet. A few months ago I cleaned out her closet and packed her winter clothing away. Now I need to pack some warm weather items. My daughter prefers "skorts" in the early fall and late spring, and since they have an elastic band, and were a bit long on her in the first place, she won't be growing out of them by August. I made sure they were all clean, stain free, had no rips or tears and packed them in a box. Also her nice pullover shirts that will still fit her when school restarts.

Her shoes she will probably outgrow so when she is not running barefooted through the grass this summer, she can wear them. Same with panties, socks, and any clothing that probably she will outgrow.

During the summer I will go to yard sales looking for items she may need when school is ready to start again. I will keep a list in my car. (backpack, shoes, etc.) At a recent sale I picked her up a pair of name brand sneakers, probably only wore once. A trip through the washer, they look new. And they are one size bigger than she is wearing now, so they should be perfect size when school starts again.

When school begins and she heads to school in her neatly ironed outfits, I doubt if anyone will notice they were not purchased a week ago. Most likely they will notice how nice she looks. :-)

May 24, 20120 found this helpful

This is really good advice. Often last years school supplies are lost by the time the new school year starts. Taking care of it now and putting things away will save you from looking for them in a few months, and also save a lot of money. Shopping a thrift shops and garage sales can save hundreds of dollars for the family - and you can, with a little effort, have a very nice wardrobe.

An old friend was very well dressed and stylish - and bought most of her clothes at thrift shops. We are all pinching our pennies now and putting them back in our purses half the time, so this advice is very welcome.

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June 1, 2010 Flag
8 found this helpful

In most areas of the US, school will be over soon. The last thing on everyone's mind right now is the next school year. But this is a relatively painless tip that doesn't take much time and will surely save you money.

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July 23, 2010 Flag
5 found this helpful

Whatever happened to my FREE public education? Honestly, between "renting" the required text book; the locker, sports fees and equipment; yearbooks; required school agenda (which never gets used because of its inefficient format; necessitating the purchase of one that actually gets the job done!); and boxes of sanitizing wipes, paper towels, tissues and hand sanitizer required for the classrooms; composition notebooks, loose-leaf paper, graph paper, binders, pencils, TI-83 calculators and the like I am out more than $400 before I buy the first pair of new shoes (we'll not go THERE in this post).

So, how is a frugal mom supposed to save some cold hard cash this time of year? Glad you asked! And, BTW--you are going to spend much more than you save this time of year, so take an aspirin before proceeding:

  1. First, you must have a plan which includes knowing what you are required to provide for your student. Thankfully, our school makes back to school packets available in mid-July before the back to school sales begin in earnest. Don't buy a lot of stuff that is not on the list because it may not get used!

  2. Stock up - this is a must for the frugal mom. Peruse the Sunday ads, making plans to shop around and only purchase the best deals at a variety of stores.

  3. Purchase 2-3 times the number of items on the list (if 7 composition notebooks are required, purchase a minimum of 14-21 to assure mid-year replacements are available at a reasonable price). At 25 cents each 14 notebooks will cost you $3.50. Should you fail to purchase the necessary replacements for later in the year you'll be lucky to find these for a $1.00-so stocking up is critical and your net savings throughout the year is over $11.00. I also purchase crayons, glue sticks, colored pencils for arts and craft project, Christmas and Easter gifts and my Operation Shoebox at this time of the year and store them away. Apply the same strategy to folders, pencils, lose leaf notebook paper and 3 subject or 5 subject spiral notebooks and any other school supplies.

    For my college kid I employ the same strategy and even use this time of year to buy new toilet brushes (yes, they are on sale for $2 less than the normal price and I make a habit of replacing them every year at this time), wastebaskets, sheet sets, and small appliances are on sale too (for your personal use, as a replacement, Christmas gifts or wedding showers you know are coming up)

  4. Develop a storage system - No one likes to use a bent or tattered notebook. After all, new supplies are the highlight of returning to school for some folks, me included. Therefore, storing your purchases in pristine condition until you need them is a requirement. I use a plastic drawer bin, but an under the bed box or any secure container which will keep out the dust is satisfactory! DON'T purchase a new storage system, that defeats the frugal part of this post - use what you already have!

  5. Get Freebies - make sure you take advantage of any BOGO free offers, rebates, and don't forget to pickup any free samples (pencils, post it notes, hand sanitizer, chip clips, and caribiners seem to be popular items this year) at your local state fair or community event. Put these in your storage system as you accumulate them over the course of the year.

  6. Keep your receipts and don't be afraid to return the UNUSED binder that was desired until DD saw what all the other 7th graders were carrying.

  7. Shop early to assure the best selection (you can always return what you purchased but didn't actually need). Younger kids especially enjoy selecting their own supplies and this will insure they are actually used.

Happy Shopping!

Source: Posted on my blog: http://frugality-girl.blogspot.com/

By skibum1910 from Prospect, KY

August 21, 20100 found this helpful

Instead of hair towels have a bathrobe for each, after they dry off wrap their hair in the towel and put on their bathrobe. 1 towel per customer. Try buying a loofa (different color for each child) then you won't need so many wash cloths. The loofas (nylon) run around .99 cents each and have to be replaced every couple of months.

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August 21, 20100 found this helpful

August 15, 2012 Flag
6 found this helpful

Every where you look, all you see is Back to School sales. In some places, kids are going back, but here in CA, it is the start of summer school. Either way, savings are all around us.

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August 10, 2010 Flag
2 found this helpful

My sister used to live in a town where the school bought the supplies and split the cost among the parents. They were able to save money, because they bought in bulk. Another advantage being that every child had the same items.

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August 30, 2005 Flag
1 found this helpful

Other than the holiday season, back-to-school shopping offers consumers the largest opportunity to collectively vote with their dollars in support of environmentally and socially responsible products.

Yellow crosswalk sign.

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September 16, 2010 Flag
4 found this helpful

Stock up now on school supplies. The supplies won't be this cheap until a full year later. You can use school supplies as really good stocking stuffers or you can give them out in gift bags at birthday parties!

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October 1, 2008 Flag
0 found this helpful

We buy a years worth of school supplies once a year. Every year the stores such as Walmart, Target others put the school supplies on sale. Such as a box of crayons for .22cents. Most families wait for the schools list to come out.

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August 2, 2007 Flag
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I always wait until I have an exact list of needed items from the teachers themselves before I buy. In the upper grades, some teachers can be very specific about what they prefer; down to the color of the ink pen or size of the notebook.

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August 8, 2011 Flag
2 found this helpful

Here are several tips for saving money on school supplies.

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August 1, 2008 Flag
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If your school age child has a summer time birthday, let your relatives purchase their needed school supplies such as lunch boxes, backpacks, notebooks as their gifts.

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August 24, 2006 Flag
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Saving For School Expenses. Purchasing school supplies takes a huge bite out of our budget (and it's a free public education!) Each payday, I place $25 in an envelope to be used for school related expenses. . .

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August 22, 2006 Flag
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Recycling School Supplies Tip. I redecorate my son's discarded binders and barely used notebooks. Then, I use them for journals, collecting recipes, etc.

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August 1, 2007 Flag
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When each of my grandchildren were born, I started a tub where I purchase school supplies for them every year. I wait until school starts and Walmart and the other stores discount everything and I stock up.

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July 22, 2011 Flag
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This can be done in a community to help families provide new articles of clothing, shoes, backpacks, etc for children to have when school begins.

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