Time never seems to slow down for us as parents, does it?! Sarah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, was shocked at what she discovered while she was out shopping (read on to find out more!). What she saw reminded her that back to school season is nearly here. She’s sharing her tips for saving big on supplies today on the blog. Take a look…
Save Big This Year On Back to School Shopping
Seems like summer gets shorter and shorter. As I walked through Hobby Lobby last week I was shocked to find turkey’s and pumpkins next to my 80% spring clearance. I am still decorating with Spring, by the way! Bonus! Two more aisles down—they had Christmas! The classy woman who was nice enough to ignore me when a favorite cuss word exited my mouth is truly a saint!
The more I thought about the coming months I realized just how expensive the last part of the year is! And now we have one entering Kindergarten in the next month—which means school supplies and backpacks and clothes! In fact, a survey on back to school spending from the National Retail Federation found that we spend $27.3 billion on school supplies. I am a type A control freak who likes to get things done early. Waiting until Missouri’s tax free weekend, on August 4th, is completely out of the question! Besides I have coupons that expire before then.
Obviously to save a lot of money, wait for the tax free weekend and head to the Missouri side for the larger items and for the clothes. However for school supplies and backpacks there are some pretty good sales going on right now that you could check out. Below is a few tips on places that you may have not thought of!
Walmart and Target
Obviously. Wal-Mart can usually beat anyone’s prices on the basics–folders, pencils, etc. So check there first, however I know more than one person who won’t set foot in a Wal-Mart so unless these people are closet online Wal-Mart shoppers then head on down the road to Target. I am a frequent Target Dollar spot shopper and it is amazing what you can find there. For instance I bought the cutest red, blue and Fourth of July patterned stem less wine glasses at the dollar spot—by the way those aren’t dishwasher safe. Now I have the cutest red, blue and Fourth of July patterned children-sized cups! Anyway the dollar shop is a good place to just check for folders and pencil cases; you can usually find these things with no problems and at fair prices.
Speaking of dollar spots, Dollar General and the like are a great place to find things from backpacks to larger items like calculators and notebooks. I know these things are much cheaper here than they would be at a big box store so take a look next time you pass one.
This is way out of the box thinking but just maybe. I know I have some supplies like notebook paper, pencils and pens that yes have been opened but honestly does it matter? Loose leaf paper is going to go in a notebook anyway and pens will be opened and thrown in a backpack. Also backpacks are a good find at garage sales- most are still in great condition and will be a fraction of the cost brand new. The old is new again—old is now called vintage!
Oriental Trading Company
I never thought of my go-to for party supplies and favors to have their share of school supplies as well! Some of their items are going to be sold in bulk but it is worth a look. Bulk stores is another great option for supplies. I am not sure how many people would use 1,000 pencils in a school year but maybe you want to buy for the next 18 years and that is fine. Instead of thinking that far in the future, as my Type A control freak self commends you for thinking that far in advance, let’s stick to a more realistic time period.
I am sure that you know the other parents in your child’s class, you’ve been to PTO meetings with them, you have talked in the halls, you are Facebook friends and maybe even vacationed together; so why not organize a supply master list. All families chip in a said amount, head to the bulk stores and buy the economy sized pencil supply and then you can divvy up the pencils as well as the savings to each family.
I can remember my favorite part of school shopping was the backpack buying! I always was a JanSport fan and loved the great designs they always had. In researching for this post I found a TON more brands to choose from and the choice is unlimited when you go online. The above site 6pm Backpacks.com has pretty much any brand, color, style that you could ever want and at pretty significant savings. I bought, I mean found, a Vera Bradley backpack for $69.99, which is about 50% of the retail price. And my beloved JanSport? Way more expensive than I remember but at this website still 40% off.
Finally, I am always out for the gas rebates from my favorite grocery store. When school gets closer they usually run promotions on school supplies. You can usually rack up quite a few rebates when buying these items. They may not be the cheapest, but you do get to save somewhere in the budget.
From iFamily to Yours,