Smarter Back to School Shopping

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. Think ahead. Look at the ads online, many offer free shipping and handling. Check your local ads, and don't forget your favorite thrift store. For those who have children or grandchildren, it's a given. You have to have all of the supplies this year brings.


Don't just shop where you normally do. It may be worth the gas to do your homework for additional savings. For example, many office supply stores have huge savings. Normally, there may be one kind of notebook, pencils, pads, and a few binders. This time of the year, they are stocked full of everything anyone could need. The key is don't get everything in one place. The Dollar Store has supplies. We know to take advantage of those first because they go fast.

You may find deals that beat $1.00 per item in the least likely places. I had to get a RX where usually every item is extremely over priced, right in front of my eyes were markers (name brand) at $.39, plus 5 for a $1.00 notebooks. I couldn't believe how affordable! I stopped to see if smaller note pads were a bargain, there was the catch.


No, in fact they seemed higher then normally would have been. The savings are huge but most likely not all in one place. They have to make a profit, what better time of the year to do it. Most families need all these things so they advertise a couple at great savings then profit on the others.

Make a list and check before you leave the house. Compare online prices and you'll save money on everything instead of just a couple. Think ahead and stock up. You will need supplies throughout the year. I noticed online has wonderful deals with free shipping over $25.00. It may be worth your time to start there. No gas money is involved. You can do it without all the standing in line and hassle involved at the store. It will be delivered right to the door, checking so much off your list. Don't forget if it's free shipping, check for socks, underwear and T-shirts. With price of gas, I think its a win-win!


Some of us don't have kids at home any longer. However make up, shampoo, deodorant and even home needs are on sale for those college kids who have to fill a dorm room. Area rugs were 75% off near me, lamps same thing with a bigger then normal selection. My mouthwash is expensive for my budget when I saw "buy one get one free", I made mental note for the first of August.

I can cut back at the grocery or do a different meal to be able to take advantage of these savings I never see. We who live on a budget are always trying to find new ways to save. In my case, I can't work so you have to "work it out". This seems to be a helpful way I can do just that.

Do you know the same savings online are in stores out of your state? Of course school is everywhere. If I bought at a very family oriented store on the East Coast, there is no tax. No tax and free shipping over $25.00, back to school savings makes it like an after Christmas sale. Also look to see if your state has a day where you pay no tax on clothes, supplies, computers or anything needed for school. There are still a few that have this Saturday each year.


We all have computers, what a better time to get computer paper or ink. These are expensive and not in my budget things that seem to run out at the worst times.

Thrift stores are having deals or days of savings. Keep in mind most parents have cleaned house, clearing out the old to have room for new. I like the old, its all clean, donated and waiting on a rack for us to see. My local favorite thrift store has a "bring your own bag, fill it for a price" (according to bag weight or size). I wear a smaller size then most high school students so some of us get lucky with cute, in style clothes. Even one new item (new to me) can make you feel like smiling all day. They also have home items like: pots, pans, slow cookers, lamps, etc. on sale. If you love reading, all the books are marked way down. Check your favorite thrift store to see if they have specials going on.


Don't forget many are having garage sales to clean out last year's stuff. Its always fun to see what is there. Love the saying "I brake at all garage sales " You may want to stop this time of year or in next couple months. Moms may be waiting until kids are in school before having a sale but they are coming.

Take a note about the holidays coming up. How often do you use these items as stocking stuffing? If you have been saving for computers, they are cheaper now than any other time of the year. Keep in mind online or shopping channels have flex pay with no interest so you don't have to pay it all at once.

Grocery stores do have back to school lunch items on sale. We all eat lunch, people who work or us at home. Check when you do your shopping. It may be worth going to a couple places this next few weeks.


I'm sure you all have ideas, please share. The no tax probably surprised me most. Here anytime I can save, it's a good day. Happy back to school for you who are parents, praying its a safe year for all. For the rest of us, let's keep enjoying summer while keeping in mind holidays are coming. Blessings!

By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

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August 27, 20120 found this helpful

Another thought - don't buy into what the school says you "need" to buy every year. For the last two years our list said we needed to buy this and buy that. We don't. Most of the times we have leftover notebooks, folders and other supplies from the previous year that goes unused so we just keep the supplies from the previous year and reuse them. I find that it's much easier on our budget to reuse what we can and just buy things as we need them rather than to rush out and buy a big lot of stuff all at once.

My kids have been very good at paring down to the bare necessities at school so they don't even ask for extravagant supplies. School clothes are another thing. We just don't buy into the "School Sales" and spend lots of money. They use what they have and we supplement as needed. The sales might be now on clothes, but it's still summer here and we have no good reason to buy jeans when it's 85 degrees outside. By the time we will need to buy new pants, there will be another sale.

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August 27, 20120 found this helpful

I totally agree with you on not needing every little thing. I was so surprised hearing local news that 1 Billion dollars is spent by the teachers on kids who do not have even paper. Seems like something is wrong somewhere! Some of these things can be shared in the classroom. I believe in donating when possible; these days it isn't as much as I would like.

I home schooled, so everything was on me. Even then we traded, swapped and became very thrifty in what was really needed. Reusing was a must for a single mom. Now I try and make use of back to school savings in other areas of my life.

Summer here also, sales for clothes come and go. I believe in buying where and when you can save the most money. Have a great year for your family this school year.God bless.

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