As the economy has strained all of our wallets, here are some great ways to save money.
Take Inventory – It’s a good idea to start by understanding what you need to buy. The best place to start is to go through the closet and take inventory of what fits. Check your school’s ‘school supply list’ and compare it to what you already have. I make a point that when my son brings home his school supplies, I start the pile in the closet of things that can be reused. My son has used the same oil pastels for the last three years and they still look hardly used. Now that you know what you need to buy, make your back-to-school shopping list.
Back-to-School Sales– Many retailers offer back-to-school savings on clothing, school supplies, computers and more. Keep an eye out for back-to-school sales and check your newspaper, email and mailbox for special sales, discounts, coupons and promotions. When I went back-to-school shopping last year, I noticed the best deals started early. Learning how cheap you can find items and deciding what you are willing to pay. Notebooks and folders can be found for a penny, and so can several other items. If you prefer to shop at one store, my advice is Shopko. My shopping has been done and it cost me about $10 for all my son’s supplies plus extra for donations. You can also find great bargains after school starts, but there will probably be less selection. Here are the links to several area stores:
Stock Up and Save – Back-to-school is the perfect time to stock up on school supplies at rock bottom prices. You can find them in many places including discount retailers, office supply stores, grocery stores or drug stores. While you may be focused on crossing off items on your school supply list, stocking up on school supplies at bargain prices will save you time and money throughout the year. Be sure to look for even better deals down the clearance aisles after school begins, so you can maximize your savings and stock up. I have seen several adds for markers buy one get two free, if you have friends you can divide the boxes and the cost of one box of markers making them around a dollar.
Buy used – If you’re heading to college, buying used books over new ones could save you 50 percent. Check online (e.g. Craigslist, EBay, Amazon, Abe books) for savings on books and other back-to-school items. Thrift stores and garage sales usually have great buys on used items too. I have bought several books at Abe books and then sold them on Amazon for a larger price when I am finished using them. Shop early as soon as ISBN numbers are available as prices go up as the book is searched more.
Ask and you shall receive- Websites such as swap.com, freecycle.com, swapmamas.com are great places for scoring freebies such as clothes, shoes, books, backpacks and more. My son needs to wear uniforms this year and even the school offer a chance to get free clothes as people donate uniforms the kids outgrew.
As you go back-to-school shopping, consider those in need. There are many libraries; churches and other organizations that would appreciate your school supply donations (e.g., crayons, pencils, folders) for students and classrooms.