Back to School Money Saving Tips: School Supplies
Save Money On Back To School, And Get A Lot!
Target has it right; school takes a lot. The typical American family has at least two children and in 2012 Parenting.com estimated that families spend an average of $179 per child on back to school items. Out of that $179 average, about $50 went to new supplies.
So how’s your back to school budget looking when held up to the national average? Last year I challenged myself to budget $100 per child for back to school, clothing included and of that $100, 15% went to school supplies. After all was said and done, I got everything on my lists plus I’m starting this school year with a stock leftover from 2012!
I’ve spent years learning the tricks of the trade while working with national deal bloggers and now I’m going to share tips that will have you saving money on any budget. You might be surprised when you have cash left over, maybe treat yourself to lunch for all the hard work you did saving!
How To Save In The Stores
Shop Without Children
I can’t tell you the last trip I made to the store without a child in tow. That being said, my hubs knows when it comes to school shopping, he’s Mr. Mom! My kids dread summer vacation’s end, but for some reason they sure like spending my money on back to school supplies. Unless you have nerves of steal not to give in, no matter what tactic the child employs, my advice is to ditch the sly rascals and save some dough!
Price Match Other Store Sales
You’d be surprised Walmart is not the only store that price matches! Best Buy and Office Max will not only price match other store ads, but online prices too! My favorite thing about the Best Buy’s low price guarantee is that if you make a purchase and see the same item for a lower price within fifteen days of purchase, they will refund you the difference. I’m proof, just ask me about my last smartphone purchase next time you see me!
Word to the wise, when price matching make sure to know the store’s policy. I would also advise to have a printed copy on hand if you run into an untrained or new store employee. Don’t be afraid to also request a manager if you feel the store is not honoring the policy.
Price Match Back To School At:
Take Advantage Of Store Reward Programs
Many stores are offering rewards back when you make select purchases. Rules vary from store to store, however the premise is mostly uniform. To find the reward deals, you’ll want to look in the store’s printed ad. This time of year you can find some great back to school deals with rewards back.
Stores like CVS and Walgreens offer instant rewards printed at the register, while stores like Staples requires you to fill out an online form and you will receive your rewards once they have been processed. It’s important to know your store’s policy. This you can find on their website. I like instant rewards myself, because I can turn around and use them on my next purchase instantly. But if you start shopping for supplies early, your processed rewards will most likely be available before school starts.
Look for Recycle or Buy Back Discounts
I was happy to see the binder program return this year at Staples. Last year I returned used binders (any size, any condition) and received a $2 store credit for each. I was able to supply my kids and myself with free binders for the school year! See store for restrictions and rules.
Look for ink buy back programs, again see store rules as they differ from store to store. I save my ink cartridges up throughout the year and turn them in the months proceeding back to school. Most stores only allow a certain number per month so I like to spread them out in June, July, and August. I earn $2 per cartridge in store rewards which boosts my spending budget. Last year I received $60 in store rewards that spend like cash!
Use Coupons, And Then Use More Coupons
Of Course I’m going to tell you to use coupons, that’s a given. But make sure you’re using all the coupons you can! For example, store ads and websites often offer additional savings you don’t want to miss.
I jump at the chance to use a percentage off coupons along with store rewards and manufacturer stacks! It’s like a perfect savings storm. So don’t discard those store coupons since you can pile other coupons on top, as long as the fine print allows.
Also look to saving blogs for coupons and store deals. If they are a good site, they’ll offer a back to school category and coupon matchups. They should also update daily with sales and deals. If you visit and don’t see what you’re looking for or there are only Amazon deals, I’d move on. Also be sure to use their links for coupons in the matchups; this is how you support good deal blogs for all their hard work.
Check back for more Back to School Saving Tips from Recess. Next up we’ll be saving you money on the number one expense – clothing!
Having spent the past two years employed with two large national deal websites, Melly Allen knows how to save families’ time and money on much needed necessities. In addition to saving men and women money nationally, Melly is also the creator of Couponers of Las Vegas, a family-friendly local couponing community on Facebook.
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