Purchasing school supplies for yourself or your children can really put a dent in your budget during the back-to-school season, but it doesn’t have to. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to save money and put the cool back in school.
Scour Your House
Chances are, you probably have an abundance of school supplies already lying around the house, left over from school years passed. The notebooks may not be in pristine condition and the pencils may be half-used, but they still get the job done, right?
Go Yard Sale-ing
You’ll have to be up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to score these deals, but trust me, many a deal can be scored. You can probably get almost all of your/your children’s required school supplies for the price of one brand new trapper keeper.
Stick to the Basics
Manufacturers know that children will beg their parents for the new, cutesy notebooks and binders with Elsa and Anna on them, but they’ll cost you two or three times as much as the plain supplies. If your kiddo is set on having a fancy notebook, encourage them to get creative and decorate their supplies themselves with stickers and markers.
A great way to purchase some higher-end items, such as calculators or printers, at a heavily discounted rate is to buy them from sites like eBay or Craigslist. Tip: Be vigilant about making sure the seller is reliable by checking their reviews from other customers first.
Buy in Bulk
Wholesale stores, such as Costco and Sam’s Club, sell more than bulk food; they also sell an abundance of school supplies. Buying mega-packs of highlighters and notebook paper can keep you supplied for the entire school year, and it’s especially great if you have multiple children to buy for.
Extreme (Or Not So Extreme) Couponing
If you still get the Sunday paper, look through the coupon book instead of tossing it in the trash; there are usually quite a few deals in there from a variety of retailers. You can also take a look at sites such as RetailMeNot.com for coupon codes and printable coupons. Plus, this site actually has a page set aside for back-to-school supplies.
Shop the Sales Tax Holidays
Most states have a Sales Tax-Free Holiday toward the end of July or beginning of August, so you can buy textbooks, clothes, and school supplies free of sales tax. This can really add up for bigger purchases!
Log onto Social Media
Follow school supply, electronics, and clothing stores, like Staples, Office Depot, TJ Maxx, and Best Buy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These retailers will frequently post coupons or information about storewide discounts that they don’t otherwise advertise.
Avoid the Rush
As long as you don’t have a highly specific list of items you’re looking for, your wallet will benefit from avoiding the school supply rushes in August and January. Holding off for as little as a week after school starts can result in huge discounts on the leftover supplies.
Ask for a Student Discount
Some physical stores offer a student discount or a discounted membership (places like Sam’s Club), but there are also many online retailers who honor the student discount. Email or fax a copy of your student ID to academicsuperstore.com or journeyed.com, and you can enjoy up to 80% off your supplies.