I am getting better ever year shopping for school supplies. Every year our school savings gets more and more (and we learn to buy only what we need.) That makes me a veteran on the playground, so to speak.
I was super excited the first couple years and went overboard and bought everything on sale. Still have some of it too (I guessed at what to get last year).
Now I use the list the school provides.
It can be expensive, so I try to stick to a few cheapskate/thrifty/savy-shopper/frugal tricks that seem to get me through whole experience.
Tips for the best deals
- School Supplies – Use the list from your kids school. I have found that these lists come out AFTER all the sales, so pick items you know your kids will need/use. Some stores also carry suggested supply lists based on grade, so that helps too.
- Things for you – You can check the ads from the local stores and get the limit on the items that are on the list for the kids. Get enough paper to last a year for my printer when I can get it for a penny for a ream. You can get extra supplies and give the teacher some now and some later in the year. Buy only the supplies when they are super cheap. Buy the limit and go back to the store if you need to.
- Clothing – Go through the kids clothes and make a note of what the kids have that fits and is too big. Keep what fits and is too big, donate the rest. Make a list of everything else that they need. Shop consignment stores, Good Will and Volunteers of America FIRST. Buy new socks and underwear now and at Christmas and Easter. If there is a good sale now, buy extra for those times in slightly larger sizes (kids grow like weeds!). After shopping second had stores, visit the stores for the rest to take advantage of the great back to school sales (Kohl’s is my go to store, Justice and the Children’s Place). If I can, I buy things online, and use my eBates account to get cash back and any coupon codes s I can find (checking Save1.com or RetailMeNot just to be sure I am getting the best possible deal and savings deal I can.
- Shop a week after school starts – I noticed last year that Kohl’s had a lot of kids clothes on clearance. The clothes had been on sale, but now they were on clearance. We saved even more money by being late in buying our school clothes (bonus!)
- Shoes -Get the shoes when they are on sale at the same time the clothes are on sale. You can buy extra shoes, but may find later that the kids grow out of that size before they even wear them, wasting money.
- Lunch Items – Use Tupperware in my kids lunches bag to save money. This was not doable for my kindergartner and worked well in 2nd grade..We use small snack containers and a reusable lunch bag from Thirty-One Gifts versus paper. Buying items the kids eat in a larger quantity when on sale with coupons saved money too.
How do you save money for all your families back to school needs?