Are you tired of spending a ton of money on long expensive lists of school necessities?
You can avoid the last minute back to school rush to buy supplies AND get super cheap prices on all the necessities by starting to shop sales in early summer and knowing where to shop.
Where to Shop
Office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot/Officemax are the best places to get cheap school supplies. Yes, their normal prices can be a bit spendy, but each week during the summer they lure people into their doors with super great sales on school supplies in hopes that they will spend more on big ticket items while they are there.
The sales at these stores can get really really low, like 1 cent for folders and 25 cents for notebooks. Sometimes the deals come with a catch- so read the fine print. Look for wording like “after rebate” or “with a $25 minimum purchase” or “limit 4 per person.”
If you shop small, but frequently, you can save a bundle on all your school necessities, and be stocked up for the entire school year.
Where to Learn about the Best Deals
While the deals will vary week to week, the best deals are typically found on the front cover of the store’s weekly ad, with a few more good deals (depending what you are looking for) sprinkled into the next few pages.
You can find the ad in your Sunday paper or on the store’s website by entering your zip code.
7 Tips to Save the Most on School Supplies this Year
- Follow a coupon site. You can sign up for the daily email blasts to get a recap of the best deals, get push notifications, or texts, or you can just log into the site on the weekend to see what the upcoming deals are.
- Check the office supply store’s sales ad when it first comes out, and be prepared to shop on the 1st or 2nd day of the sale. The sales will typically start on a Sunday or Monday. When the deals are really good and it gets closer to the end of summer, the sale items will be sold out if you shop on the 3rd day (or even the 2nd day in my experience).
- If a sale item is sold out, the store manager may be willing to offer you a rain check so you can get the same price when they restock- or even offer you a similar item at the same price. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Make a list and stick to it. You don’t want to waste your time, money, and space buying and storing things that you don’t need just because they were cheap. For instance, if you despise paper folders, or don’t have a use for them, then don’t buy 25 of them just because they were 1 cent each. If you feel you can’t pass up on such a great deal when you see it, then donate the items to kids in need who will use it. Most of these stores will have a donation bin to collect supplies at the front of the building. On the other hand, stocking up on a ton of cool and useful school supplies can make for a great graduation present for someone headed to college. For help jogging your memory of what school supplies you will need, Good Housekeeping has made lists of school supplies for Kindergarten to College.
- Only buy when an item you need is at a super low price. What costs $2 this week might only be 50 cents the next, so try to stick to only buying the cheapest items in the sales ad that match your list of needed items. Sometimes the higher sale prices seem like a good deal, but places like Target and Walmart will have them cheaper come August.
- Don’t forget about the tissues! You can find great deals on tissues by following the coupon sites. Sometimes the office supply stores will have decent sales on these, but a better bet will be couponing at drug stores or buying in bulk with Subscribe & Save on Amazon (look for the coupons to clip for the best deals, and remember you can cancel a subscription after a purchase). Try to get your price lower than $1 for each box of tissues. If you can think of this really early (or to stock up for next year), flu season in January is typically the best time to get the cheapest tissues.
- Buy new backpacks (and Jeans) after school has started because these items will be clearancing off the shelves at really low prices. Also, look for backpack brands that offer a lifetime warranty like Jansport and LLBean so you won’t have to pay out of pocket every year to replace them.
Start checking those sales ads and shop a little each week to get the best deals all summer long. Come August, you will be stocked up for a great school year ahead.
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