Got 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.
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