School is back in session and with it come scores of supply lists for already cash strapped parents. If you are one of those moms or dads looking for a frugal way to purchase all that glue and paper for your little student in these hard economic times, let me give you a few pointers.
Back to School Sales
One of the best things you can do for your wallet right now is go out of your way a little bit to collect store ads. This is the the time of year that retailers offer discounted school supplies. Many stores will have online ads available for quick reference but even if you have to spend a little extra time on your routine errand runs to pick up several paper ads the payoff will be worth the hassle. After you have surrounded yourself with ads from department stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, office supply stores, and toy stores you are ready to make a shopping plan. With school supply list in hand, compare sale prices among the various stores making a note of which store has the best deal. Be sure to compare sizes of items as well. Often supplies that can be bought in bulk are cheaper.
Occasionally you will find that one particular school item is only on sale at one store. This doesn’t mean, however, that another store’s regular price for that item is not a better deal. On your “master shopping list” list the best sale price for each needed item and the store which is offering that price. As you shop you can compare those prices with other stores’ regular prices.
Some retailers will match competitor’s prices if you bring in the ad. You can take advantage of this offer and save yourself some fuel expense as well by buying all of your supplies at one or two stores.
Bulk Buyers’ Clubs
Warehouse stores can be another money saving tool for back to school. Before making any purchases from your sale ad shopping list, visit a warehouse shopping club like Sams Club or Costco. With a calculator determine the price per item in bulk packages. Compare these to your list prices for possible savings. If you have friends who need those same items, the cost can be divided among you.
While you are there, consider those items that will be consumed frequently throughout the year and if possible add them to your cart. Prepackaged foods for school lunches, facial tissues, and printer paper are just a few such items.
Don’t forget online shopping as a valuable resource which can save time and money. If you can afford the shipping cost and delivery time, many great deals can be had. Consider buying items such as backpacks and lunch boxes via the world wide web. Shoes, jackets, and other apparel for school can also be found at reasonable prices online.
Second hand stores can be budget savers as well. Consignment shops offer good quality name brand back to school clothing at reasonable costs. With a little bit of patience and fortitude, gently used or even new backpacks can also be found at thrift stores. With some forethought, many items can be found at these establishments throughout the year and saved for the student’s use.
Thanks to a dwindling economy, next year’s school supplies are likely to be even more expensive than this year’s. A wise shopper who can afford the extra cost, will purchase extra supplies this year and store them for next year. There are certain supplies, like paper, pens, and pencils, that are always in demand. These are even items that we often receive for free at various times and ways. A plastic tote that can be designated for school supplies and added to throughout the year will be a valuable source when school shopping season comes around again.