10 Ways to Save on School Supplies

Big Kid 46

save on school suppliesGot your school supplies shopping list yet? If you're like most people, the length and breadth of such a list made you gasp just a little bit. A compass and calculator, already? Didn't the Internet make those obsolete? Apparently not, and you, mom, are on the hook for these and many other things on the ever-expanding school supply list.

Before you throw up your hands and resign yourself to spending your vacation budget on rulers and pencil boxes, take a look at our list of money saving ideas. Here are 10 ways you can save serious cash on school supplies.

1. Have a Yard Sale

If the school supply bill is making you sweat, have a yard sale where all proceeds go directly into the school supply fund. If you really clean up, splurge on a new pair of tennis shoes for your active kid.

2. Use What You've Got

As you're preparing for your yard sale, take a look at last year's lunch box. Still workable? Take that off the list. Hunt for any notebooks that are mostly unused, and start your year off with what you've already got.

3. Use Coupons

Even if you don't get the Sunday paper, grab it this week and the next so you can scope out the store coupons that are banking on your back-to-school business. Also try online coupon stops, where you can save big on pens and pencils.

4. Craigslist

This is where you can find a backpack for much less than retail. Just remember to always meet in a public place, and pay once you've got the goods. No one needs you to wire them money, and you should always deal with locals on Craigslist.

5. Other People's Yard Sales

A savvy yard sale family knows now is the time to put out those extra binders and colored pencils they've been hanging onto all year long. A savvy shopper will pick them up for next to nothing.

6. Buy in Bulk

If you know you're going to be going back to the store in a few months, hit your large quantity store to buy big and save in the long run.

7. Call Your Friends

Especially if you have friends who have a child that just completed the grade yours is heading into. If they have no use for their specialized requests for fifth grade, see if they're willing to unload a map of the world on you.

8. Talk to the Teacher

If you want to spread out your expenses, give your child's teacher a call and see if it's really necessary to show up on the first day with the entire list. Next month might be a better time for you, and if your kid doesn't need it right away, that's better for your monthly budget.

9. Go on Facebook

No, not to complain about the massive quantities of crayons you're required to purchase, to see what deals are out there in the world wide web. This is the time advertisers are trying to get your attention, and Facebook customizes ads for your eyes. Plus, this is an excuse to see what your friends are up to, without guilt.

10. Compare Prices

This may seem obvious, but when your kid is dying for the Star Wars pencils, and the yellow ones cost half as much, you're going to be less likely to give in when you know the damage it could cause to your budget. Don't be dazzled by the shiny stuff!

How do you save money on school supplies?


Image via JonathanGarcia/Flickr

back to school, elementary school


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cek302 cek302

And, just get one of most things until the teacher is more specific. For K & 1st, we sent in everything on the list and didn't get any of it back. This includes the 9 glue sticks my DD said weren't even used! So apparently we donated them to this years class!


daerc... daerca574

I usually just get the basics and then after school starts if the rest is necessary, then we pick up the rest.  I have noticed through the years that some never gets used.  Such a waste.

Minim... Minimelda

I am the mother of 4 and we are so blessed to live in a county that supplies ALL of the elementary schools supplies for us and we pay no fees.  When I first moved to this town I and my kids started school I was thrilled to find this out.  The only thing we have to supply is a back pack...lol...Of course as special school projects come up through the year we are asked to send in specific supplies, which is great because we know there is no waste!

Princ... PrincessPeach06

I have 5 kids going this year and each Sunday I hit up the Sunday ads and go to 3-4 different stores to get what's on sale.  It really isn't all that bad - $50 or so before backpacks.

sstepph sstepph

Awesome, thanks.

mommy... mommymonkey

We just completed our kids lists for the year. (kindergarten and 4th grade)

Some of the things listed surprised me. (What are they doing asking for 15 glue sticks per student?)

We bought the basics, and are only sending a few things at a time. I intend to let the teachers know that I will send supplies as needed, and if they aren't satisfied with that, they can bite me.

daisy... daisygirl913

I did 2 bags for my friend's kids (3 glue sticks, 1 liquid glue, 3 notebooks, 1 pack red pens, 1 pack black pens, 1 box crayons, 1 pack Markers, 1 pack Colored Pencils, 1 ruler, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 pair scissors, 1 pack pencil topper erasers, 1 highlighter, 1 pen/pencil eraser) All she has left she needs to purchase is folders, pencils, lunch box and backpack. For all of that plus a 16 more boxes of crayons, 4 more colored pencils, 4 more markers, 2 more liquid glue, 6 more packs of pens, 2 more packs of pencil topper erasers, 3 more notebooks, and 8 sharpies I spent no more than $15

Coupons coupons coupons and watch your sales flyers!

allie... alliesmom112

Coupons and sales. I always try to take advantage of coupons and sales. Through out the year the do buy 1 get 2 free on crayola products. Staples and Office Max also have $.01 sales om lots of supplies.

Peajewel Peajewel

I try to buy a lot of the things that I know she will need the year before when they clearance all the school supplies after school starts.  I also try to stock up during the year. 

Pnukey Pnukey

We keep a stash of what they'll need.

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