I like to think that my family has become old pros at school supply shopping. We know how to keep an eye out for back to school deals all year round. Here’s some suggestions we use that might help you keep BTS costs down.
Re-use it. This is probably my child’s least favorite tip. We have re-used backpacks, binders, scissors, rulers, etc. that are still in good condition. If they still look good after you clean them up a bit, why not re-use them? It’s really hard for kids to understand (especially when shopping for BTS), it’s good to teach them we don’t have to throw away perfectly good items just because we want new things.
Stay on the lookout. After a few years of BTS shopping, you get to know the school supply list. Look for back to school deals when you’re casually out shopping or browsing online. Buying items when you see them will spread out your expenses so you don’t have a huge BTS bill right before school starts. I once found a $50 backpack for $13 while going through holiday clearance items at a department store in January! It was a great deal, and it was a good quality backpack that we actually used for a couple years.
Buy in bulk. If you compare items in the large “classroom packs” you can almost always get a better “per item” deal. What, you don’t need 10 glue sticks? Keep in touch with other parents at school and let them know your inventory, they might be willing to split the cost with you. If you don’t have any takers, you can always make a donation to schools in need. I the items will not “go bad” or get lost — keep a stockpile of items for next year’s BTS shopping.
Unexpected sales. It sometimes pays to shop around for the best bargains. I have found some pretty good back to school deals in unexpected places like grocery stores, Sam’s, Costco, Walgreen’s, etc. those stores all have to clear out seasonal items to make room as well. Some quality items can also be found at dollar stores — items like tissues, anti-bacterial wipes, plastic cups/plates, etc. end up being very inexpensive at most dollar/discount stores.
Don’t forget the clothes! If you ask any kid these days, BTS shopping isn’t complete until they get new clothes for school. A lot of stores have fall clothing on sale as part of their back to school deals. But, don’t forget! Summer apparel should be on clearance this month. Wisconsin weather is unpredictable — it can stay pretty warm until late September, so let kids extend their summer season and wear t-shirts/shorts/skirts.
Does your family have some traditions when it comes to finding the best back to school deals? Share them with us in the comments below!