YIKES! Can it really be only a few weeks away? Any day now teachers will be sending home those lists of supplies your kids will NEED to succeed in class. Some of this stuff is just freakin’ expensive, and there’s nothing you can do about it, but you can save a bundle if you keep your eyes open and know where to shop.
CHECK YOUR KIDS SUPPLIES FROM LAST YEAR
Maybe still in the backpack, or maybe in a desk drawer or under the bed, there’s likely a stash of crayons, colored pencils, unused notebooks… those lists the teachers send usually over-shoot the actual needs to be sure your kid doesn’t run out. No point in buying stuff you already have, right?
FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, GET THE SUNDAY PAPER
Yes, that old-school pile of newsprint that used to appear in your driveway. Go get it at the supermarket or 7-11 or wherever. It’s full of ads for stuff, and “back-to-school” is a retail biggie. You never know WHO might be offering below-cost deals on backpacks or scientific calculators or other “big-ticket” items to get you in the door. Plus there are other discounts, coupon packs and other values in the Sunday paper that will likely make up the $2 per week it might cost.
AS I’VE SAID BEFORE: DOLLAR STORES RULE!!!
You’ll find genuine Sharpies for $1 a pack. Recipe cards (flash cards) for $1 per 100 (sometimes 200!!). Poster boards for $1, sometimes less. Glue, paper pads, notebooks… basically most of your “small item” supplies are in many of these stores at amazing prices. Check ’em out.
Walmart has terrific deals on almost all school supplies starting soon, “while supplies last”. The latter is important because when the super-discount stuff is gone, the rest is usually a little more pricey. Also, things are sometimes in the wrong bins and not properly stocked. Be sure to bring the ad and make sure you’re putting the right things in your cart.
OFFICE SUPPLY STORES
Be sure to get their ads, either from the paper or on-line. Some stores have awakened and smelled the coffee, and give Walmart some stiff competition on selected items. You might also have credits built up if you recycle ink cartridges or participate in other programs there. They’re also more likely to have specials on expensive backpacks, binders and high-end calculators (usually needed by high school calculus students). Just be sure to stick to the advertised special. If you pick up the wrong “SKU”, you might pay a lot more than you’re expecting.