It’s school supply time and my total for this year’s school supplies is $5.23. How was I able to get away spending $5.23? By reusing what we already have, buying only what we needed and choosing not to buy trendy things that we don’t really need. We will be mostly using our supplies from last years (or older), I have added a few items from our school/office supplies stockpile (few years old as well) and bought the rest from shopping sales and using a coupon. It took me a grand total of 2 trips for all the supplies we needed for less than $6.
And here is what I did to save time and money for our back to school shopping-
1.Take Inventory and shop from the supplies you already have-
The best way to save money on back to school supply is to use what you already own. Yes, it’s ok not buy new and shiny things and reuse the items you already have. So, scavenge your home and office for any and all school supplies that you can reuse.
Once you have went through all your school and office supplies, make a list of all the items that you need. After going through our school supplies stash, we decided that we needed a ruler, tape, 3 each wide and college ruled composition books and a 1” binder.
2. Shop on sales and No Sales Tax days-
Many retailers like Staples, Office Depot offers doorbuster deals on items that’s on your list already, like we paid $1 for a ruler and .50/ notebook from Staples that we needed for this year. The trick is to stick to the list and only buy the number of items you need. This will save you money and time from not having to organize all the extra items that you don’t have room for in your home. Frugal and clutter free- win win.
3. Use coupons and rebates
Look for coupons and rebates where you’re shopping. Staples offers $.01 for a ream of paper once a year on in the 1st week of August. Take advantage of this sale if your family uses a lot of paper. And look for coupons for extra savings. I received a $5 off coupon from from Staples that used and ended up paying less than $3 for most of the supplies that I needed, including all the composition books, notebooks and a ruler.
4. Shop from local specialty store/ consignment store-
Look for school supplies at your local specialty store or thrift stores. I purchased a small white board for $1, a bag of 3 tapes for $1, a binder for .25 and some correction fluid for .25 from a local specialty store- RAFT. The lid of the fluid was broken but it won’t affect the correction fluids efficacy of correcting mistakes.You can find binders at a really low price at thrift stores along with other school supplies. It’s another win win as using pre owned things are easy on your wallet and you are able to save something from ending up at a landfill.
5. Give your used supplies a facelift and a new purpose-
All the supplies that you used last year will still work for this year. So sharpen the scissors, replace leads on the pencils and scrub/wipe the old porfolio. We don’t replace notebooks until all the pages are used up. Taping the corners of the notebooks/composition books saves them from being dog eared after consistent use. Trimming the felt tips of a white board marker help them write better.
We will be using the still in great condition backpacks that we purchased from Lands’ End last year. We spot clean and lay out the bags in the sun for a fresher look.
We reuse our paper. All the papers that have one side used are stacked close the printer so we can use them for printouts. These papers are also used as scrap paper and cut into smaller sizes for list making, quick note taking, making bookmarks etc.
Pencil cases can serve as toiletries bag and to store small toys and knick knackcs.
Use your craft supplies to give a face-lift to your kids binders, backpacks, lunch boxes or pencil cases from last year that are in good reusable condition. Use pretty papers, Sharpie, acrylic paint or Mod Podge to make them look cooler. A little creativity can go a long way.
6. Buy well made reusable items instead of disposable items-
You can save money and be environment friendly when you choose to use quality reusable items instead of disposable items. Consider this reusable silicone food bag Instead of buying disposable zip close bags-
A stainless steel lunch box lasts for a long time and free of BPA as well-
And the same goes for water bottle-
We use cloth napkins instead of Kleenex or paper napkins. They look so much prettier and add charm to any meal.
Yes, you will be paying more upfront for these than their cheaper counterparts but they last forever and end up costing less.
7. Say No to what You don’t need-
Yes, it’s perfectly ok not to indulge in the latest, super trendy school items that does the same job as what you already have and paid for. So say no to things that you don’t need, even (specially) when they cost next to nothing. We decided to say to no to paper, pencils and markers and post it notes of all sizes this year. We each have 1 mechanical pencil, plenty of lead, and other coloring supplies we can use instead. What are you going to say no to this year?
I hope you benefit from these tips for your back to school shopping. I wish you all the best for another year in creating and learning.