I have previously confessed that I'm a school supply hoarder. There's just something about all of those brand new pencils, notebooks, and rulers that gets me all sorts of excited. However they can also get me all sorts of in debt if I don't curb my hoarding tendencies to scoop up everything my kids need (and I want) willy-nilly.
Over the years, I've gotten smarter about how and when to shop for school supplies on the cheap. I've learned that with a little planning and willpower, equipping your kids with the supplies they need doesn't have to break the bank. So whether buying school supplies gives you a thrill or it's just another drill, here are six ways to save some of your hard-earned dollars when doing so.
1. Don't try to anticipate needs
Just because you think they might need a three-ring binder for next year and they're on sale, wait. Until you see the class list for that year, you could be wasting money on something they'll never need as those lists seems to change frequently.
2. Buy ahead.
That being said, as soon as you have that list in hand, keep your eyes open for sales on those items. And, of course, there are some things you just know you'll need, like pencils, for which you can always be on the lookout for bargains.
3. Mark your calendar for tax free holidays.
Many states have these days right around back-to-school time, and they can really help when it comes to your final bill.
4. Shop without your children.
Let them pick out the fun stuff -- backpacks and lunchboxes, for example -- but when it comes to the basics, if you're alone you can look for what's the best deal rather than being pestered into buying something that costs twice as much because they like the color.
5. Check the supplies you already have at home.
While I know how fun it is to buy the bright new packages, often we forget about the leftover pens and pencils and other supplies that didn't' get used from the previous year. You may have more items on your list lying around than you think.
6. Use the internet to net good deals.
Whether you shop online, find coupons there, or exchange tips with friends on Facebook about where hot deals are, there's a world of savings just a few key strokes away.
What tips would you add for saving money on school supplies?
Image via Rebecca Feind/Flickr