The late summer months bring Back to School Supplies & shopping. This can be one of the most expensive times of the year for families with young children. Why?
The reason is that back-to-school costs can really take a toll on your family’s household budget. Retailers expect that consumers will shell out more than $68 billion during this back-to-school shopping frenzy.
50.1 million students will attend public elementary and secondary school so if you do the math $68 billion divided by 50 million students it comes out to about $1360 per student . . . which seems really high to us.
Regardless of what the “experts” predict, you’re going to spend some money on school supplies. In this article, we’re going to give you some Black Belt tactics to help you quickly and stealthily get the things you need, while spending less money and time doing it!
5 Ways to Save on Back To School Supplies
Back to School Supplies Tip #1 – Take inventory before you shop.
Whether you have one or ten kids, start by asking everyone to bring their old school supplies into one room – think of an ATF raid. Lay it all out on the dining room table, kitchen table or set up a folding table where everything can be sorted into categories, evaluated and then redistributed. Then make a list of what you need.
If our public and private schools did this one exercise, the savings would total into the millions, perhaps even billions of dollars.
Back to School Supplies Tip #2 – Stock up on Loss-Leaders
Stores like Staples and OfficeMax/OfficeDepot have some of the lowest prices out there. Check out their flyers in the newspaper, subscribe to their email list or go to their websites – the savings are HUGE. You can shop in-store (most are open until 9 pm) so you can drop in on your way back home from work or an errand run. Or you can shop online anytime at places like OfficeMax or Staples.
The office supply stores advertise lots of deals, but we particularly love the penny deals and five cent deals, with a minimum purchase of $5 during the first two weeks of back-to-school sales. These two stores are our first pick for cutting the costs of back-to-school supplies.
The next level for good pricing is shopping Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, and Kmart—check out their sales flyers for their best deals.
The last place that we look for back-to-school supplies is at grocery stores – they just don’t have as large an assortment and their pricing is average . . . however, after back-to-school shopping is done there can be some huge savings on clearance items at the grocery stores.
Back-to-school supplies can be found at multitudes of stores this time of year. The next step will help you evaluate further.
Back to School Supplies #3 – Evaluate Your Time versus Your Money
Many schools are offering pre-packaged back-to-school supplies to parents as an easy, time-saving option . . . and as a fundraiser for the school.
If you have excess money in your household budget, but don’t have a lot of time, this can be an easy way to solve the back-to-school shopping issue and help out your school at the same time.
If you have time, but money is tight, then, by all means, stock up on the loss-leader sales and even fill a box for your family’s future school years. Of course, you could also buy extra supplies to either donate to the classroom for students without the ability to buy or to just bless the teacher.
And if you don’t have the time or a lot of money, you’ll have to figure out a way to find a few extra minutes to stop by and pick up the loss-leaders in the flyers.
Back to School Supplies #4 – Using Price Match to Your Advantage
Staples, Walmart, and Target will match advertised prices on brand-name products, just be sure to carry your ad flyers with you. At a time like this, it’s a good practice to keep the ads in a folder or bag in your car so they’re not forgotten . . . this is a war for your wallet.
Back to School Supplies #5 – It’s More than School Supplies
Back-to-school deals aren’t just for school. Remember that the sales at this time of year are so great, you should stock up on items for your home office, crafting corner or your work place. Think ahead for Christmas too. There are some items that are discounted this time of year that could make great stocking stuffers or Christmas presents.
Put the experts to shame and lower the average costs they predict by using these 5 Black Belt tactics this school year. But please be careful and don’t become a statistic with other experts who write about increasing credit card debt —because, finding great deals, but paying credit card interest for several months will wipe out your savings.
With these 5 Black Belt shopping tools you’ll be able to nimbly navigate the sales and score a huge win for your kids and your budget! Please plan and buy responsibility this year on back to school shopping.
Get Money Back When You Spend
- Walmart: you’ll receive 7 percent back in SB (Swagbucks).
- OfficeMax / Office Depot: 4 percent back
- Staples: 2 percent back
- Michaels: 2 percent back
If you’re not into Swagbucks, you can still save by using these links at Staples and OfficeMax
For more ideas on Back to School with Clothing, read this blog!