It’s back to school time and the lists of school supplies are posted. Time for parents to line the shopping aisles to find the best bargains for school supplies. Perhaps the economy makes parents think about being thriftier in their school supply purchases this year, so how can one take care of school supplies on a budget? These are some simple tips for buying school supplies without spending a fortune.
Watch the sale advertisements
One of the best things to do is watch the sale ads that come out from major retail stores. It may mean traveling to different stores, but it may be worth the trip. Some stores offer one cent pencils or 10 cent notebooks to get the buyer in the door. Just buy the bargain that one particular store is offering and then move on to the next store. Make a list of the specific items to be purchased at each store and stick to it.
Leave the kids at home
If a parent really wants to save money on school supplies do not invite the child to come along shopping. Inevitably the child will request cooler more expensive items. Instead look through the advertisements together and choose affordable supplies from the ads.
Use supplies on hand
Don’t dismiss using the supplies that are already on hand cluttering up drawers. New pencils may not need to be purchased because there are pencils in the drawer that were given as birthday party favors or freebies from a business. Don’t buy a pack of pens when there are pens in the drawer at home that will do the job.
Use some of last year’s supplies
Perhaps a new item isn’t needed for everything. If the backpack from the previous year is still in good shape, then just get another year’s use out of it. Items such as rulers, protractors, calculators, and pencil boxes often can be used for a second year or an older sibling’s can be passed down for the younger one to use.
Don’t be in a rush
Parents may think that teachers need everything on the first day of school, but the students may be able to wait a little while for some things. Wait until school is in session and then look at the clearance prices on items. Most items are 50% by Labor Day. Consider only buying the basics that the child needs at first and then purchase more items when they go on clearance.
Buy in bulk
Instead of buying small packages of items such as pencils or erasers, consider buying one bigger package and then dividing the items up among children. For example a box of 24 pencils in basic yellow might cost $1.00, but a pack of four Cinderella pencils is $1.50. The basic pencils average out to about 4 cents each.
Buy multi purpose items
Instead of buying several items look for buying one item that serves more than one purpose. For example purchasing a notebook that has folders incorporated in it may be a good idea for high school students who don’t want to be carrying many different items to class.
Buy one special item
Another idea is to tell children that they can select one special item for school and that the rest of the items must be the basic models. So if the child really wants the Cinderella pencils, then that is the luxury item. By allowing the child one special item, it doesn’t seem like they are being denied the fancier things and they won’t beg or complain then about the less expensive purchases.
Back to school shopping doesn’t need to break the bank. With a few conservative shopping tips, school supplies can be purchased fairly inexpensively.