Save a Bundle on Back to School Expenses by Planning Ahead

Kids with Back to School Supplies

Our back to school expenses each year add up pretty fast between the lengthy school supply lists the teachers give us, new shoes, backpacks and clothes. That could be a big hit to the budget all at once if I didn’t plan ahead for each year’s expenses in advance. Check out the HUGE bags of back to school supplies my kids had to take last year! Altogether the cost of those five bags of supplies was less than $30!

Ever since my children started school I started buying school supplies for the following year, so that when the next year came all I had to do is fill in with a few things that may have been added to the list.  Here is how this works:

Starting in early July everybody is doing school supply sales, and some stores, like Office Depot, do 1 cent sales on a few items, or 25 cent sales on a few items to get people into the store.  As an example, last week Office Depot had 3-pack pink school erasers, reg. $2.49 for 1 cent each (limit 3), hand held pencil sharpener, reg. $1.00 for 1 cent each (limit 3) and bottles of school glue, reg. $1.49 for 25 cents each (limit 3).  Because I have 5 children to buy for, this is the time for teamwork with my mom and me.  We each get the limit of the 1 cent and 25 cent items, plus another item to make a total of $5.00 (must have $5.00 purchase to get the “next to free” items).  That’s all we bought, because in  next weeks’ paper there will be more of those type deals.  In previous years we have gotten packs of notebook paper for 25 cents each, duo tang 3 prong/2 pocket folders for 8 cents each, composition notebooks for 25 cents each , spiral 1 subject notebooks for 25 cents, crayons for 10 cents, packs of pencils for 10 cents, B1G1 backpacks and so on.

About 6 weeks ago, Office Depot had a special “deal” – their  3 ream cases of copy paper were on sale for $10.01 – then if you had a “reward” card with them, you got $10 back in reward money, making the cost of the 3 reams of paper only ONE CENT!  I bought 3 of the deals in June, then in July got my reward money of $30, so actually got 9 reams of copy paper for 3 cents.  SCORE!  Now I have enough copy paper to send a pack to school with each of the children, and have 4 left for me!

I figure the TOTAL cost of school supplies for my 5 children (4 elementary school and 1 middle school this year), is about $20-$25.  Check one of those school supply lists provided by the school and see what the costs would be at retail price!

If this is the first time for you to do this, here is my suggestion.  Keep the list of school supplies handy – check what your child needs THIS year, then look to see what will be needed NEXT year.  Each week check the papers to see what the special deals are (1 cent, 10 cents, 25 cents), and get THOSE items for this year and next year.  Find a shelf or cabinet to keep the ones for “next year” separate from what you need now.  As you purchase the various discounted items each week, your “next year” shelf will get fuller and fuller, until the time when school starts, you can see that you are NOW prepared for next year.  However, as it gets closer to school starting  and you have a few items like hand soap, paper towels, and other items that you still need, you can usually get some deals on them at a grocery store.

HOT TIP:  My children LOVE to make things, so I also try to get extra construction paper, glue, crayons, etc when they are super cheap to stock the “craft” shelf.

HOT TIP #2:  My childrens’ elementary school each year has a school supply drive to collect school supplies that they give to children in need.  This is a good cause that I collect additional items for at the “next to free” sales (if there are no limits on how many you can buy), so when the children bring home the papers that the school supply drive has started, I have a good number of items that I divide up between all the kids so they can each have a bag of school supplies for the needy kids.  I figure this is a good lesson in “giving” for my children and they love to carry those bags of school supplies to their teachers!

HOT TIP #3:  I just this minute got an email with a preview of  next weeks’ ad for Office Depot.  Guess what!!! Those bottles of school glue that I paid 25 cents for last week are one of the “get people into the store” deals next week for 1 CENT!  That’s ok, we’ll still need more glue, so Mom and I will each be getting 3 more bottles of school glue!  PLUS  3×5 index cards will be 1 cent (I need many packs of those, because I write the kids’ spelling words on them each week, so we can practice their words at home and in the car).  Also they will have their 10 pack pens for 1 cent each (each of the kids need either a pack of red or a pack of blue).  I noticed that there are also a number of 25 cent items.  WHOOHOO!!!  This is going to be a good week for school supplies!

 

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Ace Savings 101 & Dorm Style Basics with @Kmart’s Back to Campus Savings

Disclosure – This is a sponsored post. I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

KMart Back to School

Heading back to campus means a life filled with American History 101, Math Fundamentals and lots of dorm room study sessions. Before heading back to campus though, one must ace Savings 101 & Dorm Style Basics (thankfully no textbooks required). Shopping at Kmart is a sure way to get an A+ on your college pre-requisites.

At Kmart you’ll find  savings on dorm style, studying supplies, small appliances, the latest gadgets and even shower caddies and flip flops (a dorm life must)! Plus, if you’re looking for a little shopping extra credit, you’ll get it as a ShopYourWay Member when you earn points on your back to campus purchases. What are you waiting for? Start shopping smart! Find out more about #KmartBackToSchool by following them on Twitter @Kmart.

 

Back to School Shoe Shopping Tips

Back to School Shoe Shopping

Back to school shoe shopping is always painful for me, not just because I have five kids to buy for, but also because they have very different personalities and when faced with so many choices at the shoe store they have problems making up their minds. Plus, two of the kiddos were cursed with their mommy’s wide feet so even if they find something they like it usually isn’t available in the wide width that they need.

Back to School Shoe Shopping

Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help take the pain out of shoe shopping for the kids. Instead of bringing all of them to the store with me, I trace each of their feet on a piece of paper. Then I use a shoe size chart that I downloaded from Shoes.com to determine what size they should be wearing. I like their chart the best because it also has wide width indicators.

Next I check out the newspaper and online for the best back to school shoe sales then I hit the store(s) with a list of sizes and the foot drawings for backup. I can then shop at my leisure without any begging or disappointment when they pick something that isn’t available in their size. Of course I keep in mind their favorite colors and I know who prefers Velcro to shoe strings so I can choose styles that will make them happy.

Many states have tax free shopping weekends for back to school, including Florida, so I wait until then to do the bulk of my shopping as that saves 7.5% right off the top. I also found a 20% off coupon for Shoe Station in the newspaper, plus they were having a big sale so I got everybody’s shoes with one stop today and I saved a bundle – score!

Back to School Savings from RetailMeNot

Disclosure Statement

RetailMeNot

Are you ready for all the back to school sales yet? I know it’s a little bit early but with five kids I sure don’t mind spreading the expense out a little longer since it’s less painful on the budget. You can save even more on all your back-to-school shopping needs at RetailMeNot , the largest digital coupon website in the United States. RetailMeNot has the hottest back-to-school bargains for students of any age. From preschool to grad school, they’ve got you covered.  Get ready to grab your list and save with the top coupons for school uniforms, books, laptops and more!

RetailMeNot Contest

They’re also having a great contest where a lucky teacher is going to win a classroom shopping spree. Do you know of a teacher that’s in need of supplies to better serve their students? If so, you can create a YouTube video nominating your favorite teacher to give them a chance to win a 3-minute Costco shopping spree provided by RetailMeNot! Check out the official rules and details here and be sure to submit your nomination by Saturday, August 10, 2013.

If you’re like me I know you’d love some more great offers!  Check out these great clearance sales for top brands, as well as awesome deals at local restaurants on pizza and more! Also, be sure to download the RetailMeNot Mobile Coupons App so you can receive deal alerts while you’re shopping at your favorite malls!

Back to School Deals Roundup List 8/26

Sadly this is the last in my series of Back to School Deals where I’ve been listing the very best deals each week from a variety of stores so that you can find the best prices all in one place.  Even if you don’t have kids in school this is a perfect time to stock up on printer paper, art supplies, & lots of other necessities that ONLY hit their rock bottom prices during this time of year so don’t miss out on the last of these deals!

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New to couponing? Check out our Couponing 101 page and learn how to save a little or A LOT! Also visit our Strategic Shopping page to learn how a few small, painless changes in the way you shop can result in HUGE savings! Find any coupon in our new coupon database, order coupons you need, and you can download the FREE coupon toolbar here.

Back to School Deals Roundup List 8/19

Back to School season is my favorite sale season of the year and I’ll be listing the very best deals each week from a variety of stores so that you can find the best prices all in one place.  Even if you don’t have kids in school this is a perfect time to stock up on printer paper, art supplies, & lots of other necessities that ONLY hit their rock bottom prices during this time of year.

[%printable-list:btsroundup-8-19-12%]

New to couponing? Check out our Couponing 101 page and learn how to save a little or A LOT! Also visit our Strategic Shopping page to learn how a few small, painless changes in the way you shop can result in HUGE savings! Find any coupon in our new coupon database, order coupons you need, and you can download the FREE coupon toolbar here.

Back to School Deals Roundup List 8/12

Back to School season is my favorite sale season of the year and I’ll be listing the very best deals each week from a variety of stores so that you can find the best prices all in one place.  Even if you don’t have kids in school this is a perfect time to stock up on printer paper, art supplies, & lots of other necessities that ONLY hit their rock bottom prices during this time of year.

[%printable-list:btsroundup-8-12-12%]

New to couponing? Check out our Couponing 101 page and learn how to save a little or A LOT! Also visit our Strategic Shopping page to learn how a few small, painless changes in the way you shop can result in HUGE savings! Find any coupon in our new coupon database, order coupons you need, and you can download the FREE coupon toolbar here.

Back to School Deals Roundup List 7/15

Back to School season is my favorite sale season of the year and I’ll be listing the very best deals each week from a variety of stores so that you can find the best prices all in one place.  Even if you don’t have kids in school this is a perfect time to stock up on printer paper, art supplies, & lots of other necessities that ONLY hit their rock bottom prices during this time of year.

[%printable-list:btsroundup-8-5-12%]

New to couponing? Check out our Couponing 101 page and learn how to save a little or A LOT! Also visit our Strategic Shopping page to learn how a few small, painless changes in the way you shop can result in HUGE savings! Find any coupon in our new coupon database, order coupons you need, and you can download the FREE coupon toolbar here.

Back to School Deals Roundup List 7/29

Back to School season is my favorite sale season of the year and I’ll be listing the very best deals each week from a variety of stores so that you can find the best prices all in one place.  Even if you don’t have kids in school this is a perfect time to stock up on printer paper, art supplies, & lots of other necessities that ONLY hit their rock bottom prices during this time of year.

[%printable-list:btsroundup-7-29-12%]

New to couponing? Check out our Couponing 101 page and learn how to save a little or A LOT! Also visit our Strategic Shopping page to learn how a few small, painless changes in the way you shop can result in HUGE savings! Find any coupon in our new coupon database, order coupons you need, and you can download the FREE coupon toolbar here.