Saving on Back to School Essentials

Saving on Back to School Essentials

We flipped the calendar to August and just like that we are all in back to school mode. The sweet bliss of summer is over when you walk into target and all you see is school supplies and dorm furnishings.
 I will admit as a parent whose Child's PTA provides school supplies each year I don’t have that sense of being overwhelmed. (We moved schools so now I feel it!)
However, as the schools new PTA president I just purchased supplies for 150 little ones! Let me say this was much more overwhelming and I skipped my workout after loading my car up.
While I don’t have to buy school supplies, I do like to take advantage of the sales to stock up for myself and our house. Little confession along with cookbooks I also L.O.V.E. office supply.

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So of course I want to learn the current trends and how to really save money with back to school shopping.This will let me continue my addiction to office supplies and help out all my wonderful readers!

Planning and Budgeting

Here are my top ways to save on back to school essentials: 

1. School supplies- Normally shopping at office supply stores is not recommended if you are looking to be a thrifty shopper. The exception to this rule is back to school sales. Stores like Staples and Office Max/Office Depot run penny sales each week starting in July on the most popular supply items. These sales typically limit the items allowed to purchase between 3-10 items per person, so there will be plenty of supplies for everyone. It is best to pick on store and shop each week so you are getting the best deals.

2. Book Bags and Lunch kit- Contrary to popular belief the best time to purchase these items are before or after the peak season which runs the middle of July to the beginning of September. Most department stores will run a shop early or preview sale as soon as they stock their shelves with school items. If you don’t purchase these before then wait until September and shop the mark downs. The selection is more limited but you will get amazing deals.

Another option that can save money is investing in a prestige brand like Lands’ End or l.l. bean. These book bags and lunch kits can last a high school student all 4 years and will save you from spending money each year.

 Finally, look for trade in opportunities; in years past some stores will run a promotion when you turn in your old book bag or lunch box you can receive a coupon for a percentage off of a new one. This is great when paired with a sale.
Planner Supply Organization

 3. Clothes- I remember when I was younger and my grandparents took me and my sister out for a huge day of shopping for clothes and supplies. Looking back I can’t believe how much they spent on clothes we would only wear for one season. I am grateful for it because as a parent of two growing and rowdy boys buying new clothes every season is not lost on me.

I prefer to do things a little differently though. For back to school I suggest only buying new shoes and sportswear. This may seem strange but the months of back to school are in-between seasons and does not really offer the best clothing deals. Shoes for my boys are always a must because, let’s face it they are hard on shoes. We always settle on a pair of sneakers and another everyday shoe so we don’t have to replace the sneakers as often. I do purchase these brand new at back to school. Then throughout the year be sure to shop consignment sales and yard sales for good quality replacements.

I offer a comprehensive list of local seasonal consignment sales at The Nifty Thrifty Lady. 

The other purchases most families have to make is new sportswear and this can be costly! I would suggest shopping at a store that offers rewards and a threshold coupon. A threshold coupon is a certain dollar amount off when you spend a certain amount i.e $20.00 off when you spend $75.00. By combining these two saving opportunities you can get the most for your dollar.

You are probably wondering then when I buy clothes for my children. We mainly shop spring and fall consignment sales and for brand new clothes at Christmas. This trend has worked great for us!

4. Dorm Room Necessities- I have not hit this stage in parenthood yet and I attended college locally so my experience in this element is not as proficient. However, I did research and it seems that the best time to buy items like mini-fridges, storage sets, and bedding is either at Christmas or January. This probably does not help many of you who are college bound now. My suggestion is to make sure you communicate with your roommates as to who is supplying what and then shop discount retailers like Ross, Big Lots, the Restore by Habitat for Humanity, and Marshalls. Also don’t count out Lowes and Home Depot in the clearance sections!

5.Textbook for College- As a current online student I have fallen in love with amazon Trade in and Buy.Rent.Textbook Program. They are simple to use and have just about any book you are looking for! All of the books I have bought to use in my accounting classes have been at least 60% off and in GREAT condition. You can check out the Buy. Rent Textbook Program here and the Trade in Program here

If you follow me on Facebook you know I posted about Tax Free Week in Maryland. This has NOT proven to be the best time to buy for my family because there do not seem to be very many sales or coupons from stores.
What are your experiences with Tax Free Week? Share your thoughts in comments below

Finally, shopping department store clearances is a great way to keep your supplies stocked!

Book Bag Clearance

Follow this advice to save money back to school shopping you can enjoy the last few day of summer bliss!
Tweet: Follow this advice to save #money back to school shopping & enjoy the last few day of summer bliss @niftythriftyldy
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