How to Save on School Supplies

1. Timing is Key

Some schools do you the courtesy of sending your child’s list of needed supplies during the summer for the following year. If you are lucky enough to receive your child’s list early then it is paramount that you begin shopping as soon as the back to school sales start popping up. This tends to occur shortly after the Fourth of July. Keep in mind, if you wait too long before shopping on the sale bandwagon - be prepared for most of the sale items to be sold out by the time you get around to it.
Schools Shopping List
However, even if you do not currently obtain your child’s school supply list, do not let this factor keep you from missing out on the back to school sales. Purchase the necessities you know he or she will need regardless, i.e. pencils, paper, lunch box, backpack, glue. Saving a buck or two will definitely help in the long run. Just make sure to keep your receipt if any exchanges need to be made.

2. Purchase in Bulk

Purchase in Bulk
Typically when teachers create their needed school supplies list, they are only thinking about what the child needs to begin the school year with. However, after the first few months pass by and you get further into the school year, your child will begin to need refills on paper, pencils, notebooks, flashcards, etc. This is when you will begin to notice that the .25 cent glue sticks have now become $1.99 a pack since August. In short, it is best to stock up for the whole entire year while school supplies are on sale. Just make sure to put the extra school supplies away in a designated storage area so that every time Timmy or Tawnee misplaces a pencil they won’t be reaching in the stock that’s meant to last them the year.

3. Strategize School Clothes Shopping

Schools Uniform

Schools with special dress codes, like a school uniform, will truly save you money in the long run. Although, shopping at the brand name school uniform store can feel daunting and overpriced. It typically is. Instead try shopping for the same items elsewhere. You can usually find items like blouses and shoes, that still fit your school's dress code, at bargain brand clothing stores or even online for tens of dollars cheaper.
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4. Double Check Your List

When teachers request extremely specific items on their necessary school supplies lists, they tend to mean that exact item. It is best to listen to the professional. In the adult world, we may find a similar item and think ‘close enough’ but unfortunately close enough is not the real thing and the academic workplace is a much more regimented world than we may choose to believe. Teachers create this organizational lists for specific reasons. In conclusion, do not waste your money on the wrong item. Stick to the list and take it literally. Needless to say, always always save your receipts.

5. Recycle & Reuse

You would be surprised at how many items you can recycle from the previous school year, i.e. water bottles, lunch boxes, and even backpacks. All these items tend to need is a good wash! So, break out the dish soap and laundry detergent and get to work. After one good spin cycle a backpack can come out looking brand spankin new. Other supplies, like protractors, calculators, rulers, and USB drives should be reused for several generations. Just remember to collect them at the end of each school year so that they are not lost for the following year.

6. Teach the Value of Money

Some children may put up a fight when asked to reuse some of last years school supplies. If this attitude is truly getting in the way of saving money on school supplies - it is time to give your child a budget. Let them know that they only have a certain amount to spend and if they want a more expensive item then they will have to pay for it themselves. This method of money restriction is sure to change their tune. Once restricted, your child is more likely to work with you on which items they are willing to reuse and which they would like to purchase brand new.

7. Be Thrifty

Let’s face it, not all children wear uniforms to school. For those of us who must go in depth school clothes shopping - here are two life saving words - consignment shops and thrift stores. Cute school clothes don’t necessarily have to be brand new to be stylish. Not to mention, kids grow so fast that they barely even wear these clothes for maybe a year or probably even less. One trick is to start early in the summer before all of the good stores have been overly picked through. Do not forget about used bookstores as well. You can find several novels that are needed for the school year for half off that have been left behind by previous high school or middle schoolers.

8. Be Organized

School uniform exchanges can be extremely helpful. Uniform exchanges can be done through a formal school program or even as a casual swap between other parents. Schools that are not pressured by uniform suppliers are typically supportive of uniform exchanges as they do tend to save parents/children a lot of money. Do not forget that uniforms can also be found at thrift stores. However, it is a whole lot easier to find the most up to date style when participating in a school wide uniform exchange prior to a thrift store donation.