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Saving Money on School Supplies

Category 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, 201111 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 Ann from Richland, WA

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By 11 found this helpful
May 24, 2012

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.

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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:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. :-)

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By 8 found this helpful
June 1, 2010

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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When the kids come home on the last day of school, don't just put the backpacks in the closet. Go ahead and empty them out; tossing out the short pencils, used workbooks, etc. If there are usable art or other school supplies, put them in a safe place for next year. At my son's school, he had to purchase his own art class supplies and I reused the same paint colors and magic markers because of their light use. If you have a supply list for next year, put that in a safe place as well so you will have it when the back to school sales start.

Finally, inspect the backpacks. Can they be used again another year? I'm not sure where the practice of a new backpack every year started but if you start out with a sturdy one they can be used for many years. Toss it in the washer and give it a good cleaning. When dry, hang it back up and it will be ready and waiting for you at the end of summer.

By Wendy from Edwardsport, IN

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By 5 found this helpful
July 23, 2010

Whatever happened to my FREE public education? Honestly, between "renting" the required text book; the locker, sports fees and equipment; yearbooks.

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By 6 found this helpful
August 15, 2012

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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By 2 found this helpful
August 10, 2010

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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By 4 found this helpful
September 16, 2010

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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By 2 found this helpful
August 8, 2011

Here are several tips for saving money on school supplies.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 1, 2008

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, 20070 found this helpful

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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By 1 found this helpful
August 22, 2006

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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By 3 found this helpful
July 22, 2011

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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By 3 found this helpful
March 25, 2011

We asked other families if they had some good school things from the year before, then gave them 1/4 their cost. This saves and helped the other family too.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 1, 2008

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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By 0 found this helpful
August 24, 2006

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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By 0 found this helpful
August 1, 2007

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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March 21, 2007

When school is out, it is a great time to stock up on folders, spiral bound paper or ring binders, if you don't mind dumpster diving. The last day of school a lot of kids don't want the burden of things to take home and all kinds of resusables go into the trash.

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By 1 found this helpful
July 12, 2011

Instead of going out to buy new coloring utensils for the school year, grab that big box of crayons from under the bed. You can find a crayon sharpener just laying about and sharpen some of the main colors needed.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 23, 2008

Shop now for your Back to School items. They're greatly reduced at various stores. Stock up for the whole year. Also, keep in mind buying packages of pencils, erasers, etc., these items could be put in birthday goodie bags, Easter baskets, or used as Halloween treats, in place of sweet treats.

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July 30, 20040 found this helpful

If possible, wait to buy most things after school starts when school supplies go on sale.

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July 19, 20000 found this helpful

We asked our readers how they save money on their school clothes and supply shopping. Here are the answers.

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August 3, 2007

Another way to save on school/home office supplies is to look for online freebie. I have gotten sample highlighters, photo and print paper, pens, and post-it notes!

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August 2, 2007

Just before school starts, the stores put school supplies on sale at very cheap prices. The kids will usually need most of those sale items at some point. So I purchase the limited number. Sometimes even going back more than once.

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July 29, 20040 found this helpful

School supplies for my children this year were free! What I did was sign up for Office Depot's rebate program which gives you money back in the form of a Office Depot Gift card when you make purchases at their stores.

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August 7, 2018

Starting throughout the month of August, some states are participating in tax-free purchases toward clothing, footwear, electronics, school supplies, etc. Perfect to start or do some last minute on Back to School shopping.

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September 16, 20100 found this helpful

Stock up now during back-to-school sales on school supplies. During the year you will need more glue, markers, paper, notebooks, etc. and they will never be cheaper than they are right now! Store them all in one place, like a crate so you and your kids will know where to look before buying anything more.

By Linda

Answers:

Stocking Up on School Supplies

Stocking up during this time of year is a great idea that saves money throughout. When school begins in the fall, prices on supplies are much cheaper. I purchase my office supplies and stock up on them as well. Not only does it save money, but it also saves time by going to the storage closet and getting what you need without leaving home to run to the nearest discount department store. (08/02/2004)

By Van

Stocking Up on School Supplies

I also do this! My daughter was famous for telling me the day after my Walmart trip she needed supplies so this helps to have it on hand! Also my son loves to draw and I hate all the loose leaf paper laying around so I buy spiral notebooks by the case at this time of the year when they are next to nothing! (08/20/2004)

By

Stocking Up on School Supplies

Stocking up in the fall is a great idea. We went to Cuba last February and took some of the school supplies along to give out as gifts. They really appreciated them. (10/13/2004)

By brenda newton

Stocking Up on School Supplies

I wait to purchase school supplies until after school starts. Sometimes the teachers have specific items that they want the children to have such as folders or binders or loose paper or spiral notebook.
(08/28/2007)

By Georgjeana

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June 23, 20100 found this helpful

I need tips on saving on school supplies required by the school.

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August 25, 20090 found this helpful

School supplies can be a big expense at this time of year. Hear are some tips from the ThriftyFun community. What are your ideas for saving money on school supplies?

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July 24, 20060 found this helpful

I redecorate my son's discarded binders and barely used notebooks. Then, I use them for journals, collecting recipes, etc. It's fun to decorate the books by gluing on flower photos from gardening catalogs, ribbon, paint, and stickers.

By Kay from Tamarac, FL

Answers:

Recycling School Supplies

I know when my kids were in school I'd keep their notebooks and just rip the used pages out and used it for extra paper when they wanted to make notes or pics, but your idea sounds like fun will pass these on to step-daughter (she has 2 in school). Thanks. (07/24/2006)

By Ruth Kennedy

Recycling School Supplies

What an AWESOME idea! Where were you when my 28 year old and 19 year olds were going to school and I bought new notebooks every year!

Thanks for the tip! (07/24/2006)

By Sheila in Florida

Recycling School Supplies

Our kids always put away their old colored pencils, scissors, markers, etc. that were still good and used them first the next year before getting new ones out. They always had stuff they hadn't used much from the year before. (07/24/2006)

By suzanne

Recycling School Supplies

I ripped out the written on pages from the used notebooks and then use the rest for grocery lists and making up weekly menus and such.

Where does it say that school supplies have to be brand new each year? I would think that if you had supplies leftover from the previous year that were still good and usable, that they could be sent.

My son is in Spec Ed. and I have to sent all sorts of things including hand towel, wash cloth, toothpaste, toothbrush, snacks, drink mixes... and on and on. Anything that can be used again I send again. (08/20/2006)

By Debbie Dzurilla

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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