I can feel your back-to-school pain. Sure, the quiet is nice, but the cost to get those kids stocked up! Between all the pencils, markers and half-interlined notebooks, I have over 40 different items on my list! Last year, I cut a cheque for over $120 to a school supply company for the kids’ basic kit. This year I vowed I could do better.
Here’s how I’m saving a bundle on school supplies:
Make One List and Stick to It - Most schools publish their supply lists on their websites by the end of June. Download them and combine all your kids into a master list that you keep with you. As you buy stuff, mark it off. Make a note whether a brand name is required (which cost extra.)
Check What the You Have - Durable items like scissors, calculators, lunch bags and ear phones should definitely last for several years.
Shop Early and Shop Often - Nearly everyone is selling office supplies this time of year. To get you in the door, they offer “loss leaders,”—seriously sale priced items, often sold at a loss. We’re talking 17 cent looseleaf, 75 cent crayons, 5 cent report covers. By shopping these sales, you can cross off most of your list with at massive discount.
Don’t Do All Your Shopping at One Store - It increases the chances you over buy. What if you need just one Sharpie, and all on the shelf are packs of 4? Maybe the unit price is twice as much at an office supply store, but you’ll save cash just buying exactly what you need. Plus, you miss out all those other guys’ loss leaders.
Leave the Kids at Home - Suddenly, everyone NEEDS extra pencils with cute kittens, a cheap branded stationery set, or a Tweety Bird USB stick. And these items add up, fast! If you can say no to extras, it’s like money in your pocket.
Don’t Buy Out of Habit - Reconsider buying new clothes, backpacks, even shoes. Are these items really in need of replacement? See if you can hold out until mid-September, when everything gets really marked down.
Using these tips, I’ve scored glue for a $1, pencil crayons for $1.25, and crossed at least 10 items off my list by taking a inventory of what was left over from last year. I’m on track to shave at least $50 off my bill from last year. I hope this September you’ll be enjoying a little extra cash in your wallet along with the peace and quiet!