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How To Save Money While Shopping For School Supplies

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

For retailers, the back-to-school shopping season (which lasts the greater part of August) is a very profitable time period. On the flip side, parents come close to breaking the bank by purchasing an excess amount of school supplies. Here are a few tips to keep your wallet (and your child's backpack) full during back-to-school shopping.

Avoid Name-Brands

This can be one of the biggest mistakes you make while shopping for school supplies. While name-brand supplies generally retain a greater quality than generic or store-brand equivalents, the added costs do not justify the potential benefits. When it all comes down to it, a pencil will always function as a pencil, no matter which company has their named embossed on its side.

Do Not Buy More Than You Think Will Be Used

Most school supply lists provided by schools ask you to purchase for more than your child will ever use over the course of the school year. A couple dozen pencils should last at least a semester so long as they are not easily lost, and are used to their full potential.

At All Costs, Avoid Purchasing Supplies "For Classroom Use"

On most school supply lists is a category labeled "for classroom consumption." If these items are not clearly separated from the rest of the essential school supplies, they are generally easy to pick out. Several schools ask that you purchase one or more tissue boxes to turn in within the first week of school. From personal experience, I can almost guarantee that teachers could care less whether your child actually buys these for the classroom or not. In the end, your child is never obligated to buy anything for the school, so it is best not to purchase these items (which can quickly add up on your receipt).

Wait To Buy Items On Clearance

Your children are not going to need all of these supplies right away. Chances are, they have enough pencils and crayons left over from the previous year to last them the first couple of weeks of school. After the "back-to-school" shopping rush, stores will have plenty of supplies left over that they will put on clearance. Also, check resale and surplus stores, as I always seem to find 49-cent packages of paper and pencils. You will save a fortune by waiting for clearance items like these.

Do Not Bring Your Child With You

Face it, once your child lays his or her eyes on pencils decorated with their favorite television show characters, there's no avoiding the obligation to purchase them. Children will tend to go after anything and everything that is colorful and name-brand, because they want to have the exact same supplies as their friends. Unless your child is old enough to understand the importance of saving money, it would be a smart idea not to have them accompany you on your shopping trip. Plus, the time you will spend shopping will be cut in half.

Search The Entire Store, Not Just The Designated "Back-2-School" Sections

On several occasions, I have actually found school supplies, identical to those in the store's "back to school" section, being sold for less in the "office supplies" department. The office supply section of a Walmart or Target is usually a hidden gem, containing an aisle of school supplies, minus the higher prices and crowds. Always check the entire store before committing to purchase everything you got in the "back to school" area.



Jul 26, 2010 7:40pm
avoiding name brands is a good one. Great article!
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