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  • SC = Store Coupon
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  • WYB = When You Buy
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Back To School Shopping

on 7.16.2010 at 5:10pm
28 Comments

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Wanderlust

Tips for Back to School Shopping

With school just around the corner and kids needing so much it can be a very stressful time when shopping on a budget. Here are some tips to help you get your kids back to school without breaking the bank!

Make A Plan: Starting early make a list of everything you need and spend a few minutes each week seeing if there are any deals out for your needs.  Grab a little at a time over the next few weeks as items come on sale.  (Using the school supply round up might help too).

Shop tax free days: Many states have days before school starts where you can get clothing and school supplies tax free. Many stores take advantage of this and offer very good sales. So, you can shop on these days to get discounts and not pay tax.

Buy Better Backpacks: As children get older, buying a better quality backpack can save money in the long run. It cost more upfront, but it will prevent you from having to replace it after a year or two. Some brands such as L.L. Bean will even replace your back pack if it messes up.

Limit Branded Items: While your child may love to have a princess notebook, a plain colored one will cost much less and still do the job. Avoid buying items that cost more just because of the brand or the character on them.  Compromise on one branded item if need be.

Compare Ads & Price Match: For school supplies it is important to look at all your local circular ads  to see where you can get items the cheapest at. Then, pick one store and have that store price match the other stores to avoid going to a ton of different stores.

Look out for coupons: Around back to school shopping time, many stores will put coupons in their ads. So look for coupons for clothing and school supplies in store ads.

Do you have any other great tips for back to school savings??

    • My son, a rising Junior, has had his Lands End backpack since 6th grade.

      • Debbie

        We love Lands End too!

    • Jenni

      Great info and ideas, Jenny! Thanks!

    • LL Bean is super great! I got a backpack from them in 8th grade and carried it until 11th grade, when the zipper broke. We mailed it back and they fixed the zipper. I guess I could've gotten a new pack, but I wrote them and said I really hoped they could fix mine because it was sentimental (I decorated it with paint markers, haha). They did, and I continued carrying it in college =). In college, I got a new pack from my birthday, which I've even carried after college. Super awesome customer service from LL Bean!

    • Just me

      In our house we swear by Jansport–one pack got dh through college and grad school (7years), was passed on to me for grad school (another year) and then used as a tote for kid stuff until the kids got big enough to tote their own stuff; both kids have a medium size one they each used exclusively for 8 years and then added a large one w/ a laptop sleeve–those have been used for 5 years and 3 years so far and are still in great shape!

      • SweetDenia

        Absolutely – Jansport is awesome! We were buying my son an average of 2 backpacks a year through elementary school, and there were slim pickings midway through the school year. We got him a Jansport when he started middle school, and he's still using it as a 10th grader. He takes it on sleepovers or any time he needs to haul things around, with no sign of wear. Definitely worth the extra money!

        • Rebecca Siguenza

          Agreed!

    • mnichols

      The tax free sale for Tennessee is unfortunately after school starts in our county. Hope someone else gets some use out of it.

      • RachelMac

        Are you sure you read the dates right? It's August 6-8. I can't imagine that school would start the first week of August!!! LOL I'm guessing you thought it was Sept instead of August. :o)

        • Kelleyharold

          No, she's probably right. Our first day is August 9th!

          • Savermac

            School starts Aug 2nd in TN for many kids.

            • Ariel

              That stinks! We live in Knoxville and school doesn't start until August 17th.

        • Dgswatz

          Several schools in western KY start August 4 or 5.I know of some starting the last week in July.Summer vacation is not as long as it used to be. I feel sorry for the kids on the buses.It is soooo HOT,My grandson is soaked when he gets off the bus.They won't allow recess if it's too hot ,but they'll stick them on a hot bus for 30 minutes plus.

        • AuburnCouponMom

          School starts Aug 10 here in Auburn Ala

        • helpmesave

          I'm with you before I moved to GA I couldn't even imagine school starting before Sept. My kids start Aug 4. I'm surprised to see how many Southern schools start that early. It's just too hot!!

      • sheila

        we live in Cheatham County and our schools start 8/06 so it right on time for us. They start earlier and earlier every year

    • Guest

      My kids love to decorate their own notebooks. I buy the cheap ones, and pick up stickers at the dollar store, on clearance, etc that way they can have princess theme, spiderman theme, or almost whatever their hearts desire!!

    • Kashna

      Does anyone know of any sales on the 5 star flex binders?

      • Klonghall

        CVS has a ECB deal when you buy $15 of 5-Star products, you get $5 ECB. That's the best I've seen. Their binders really do hold up better than other brands. My son needed a zipper binder, so I got one at CVS this week. I had some ECB to rollover, so it didn't cost me much out of pocket.

    • vgwagoner

      With the state of our economy – should any state be offering tax free weekends?

    • Germaine Jenkins

      Tax free weekend in SC is a sham because school supply prices are inflated. For example, a month ago I went to buy composition notebooks from wally world when they were 25 cents each, all sold out. I go back 2 weeks later and they're 99 cents. Last year they were selling for over a dollar during tax free weekend. Publix has composition notebooks for 50 cents, 33 cent spiral notebooks, pencils and pens. Avoid the traffic headache and get your shopping done now.

    • JJ

      Does anyone know where I can find a “Buy Price List” for school supplies? I see all these ads and don't know if what I am seeing is a really great price. Help.

    • Klonghall

      I think you have to approach school supply shopping like you do grocery shopping–buy supplies when they are the best price, and stock up! I did that last summer, and I found that by the time school started, I had about 90% of the items of my kids' lists, and I avoided the last minute rush. I hit Staples, CVS & Publix this week, and found fantastic deals, already. I also agree w/ the tip to buy good quality backpacks. We bought Swiss Gear backpacks last summr on the Staples' deal, and they still look brand new after a year of wear. Lands End, Jansport or L.L. Bean will last forever, too.

    • Thanks for the heads up on the Office Depot coupon! I am in dire need of more printer cartridges.

    • jaismom23

      Yeah, only FL kids in our county go back to school on 8/9 and the tax free holiday isn't until 8/13!! I'm so glad I have my kids shopping all done!

    • Magiemunch

      Many schools or individual teachers give stores like Target or Office Depot supplies list to help parents know what to get. Ask the customer service desk or look for a display with these lists. They will help you be specific about what a child needs.

      Also, if you get anything free that you can't use, please pass this on to the teachers. Budgets are tight at schools and even tighter for households, so there will be less supplies available from the school and the teachers have less money to spend out of pocket for their classrooms. So, every little bit helps!

    • Magiemunch

      Many schools or individual teachers give stores like Target or Office Depot supplies list to help parents know what to get. Ask the customer service desk or look for a display with these lists. They will help you be specific about what a child needs.

      Also, if you get anything free that you can't use, please pass this on to the teachers. Budgets are tight at schools and even tighter for households, so there will be less supplies available from the school and the teachers have less money to spend out of pocket for their classrooms. So, every little bit helps!

    • Belinda

      We bought a backpack from LL Bean for my son last year & the fabric kept getting caught in the zipper & finally the zipper broke. I called & mailed it back to them. They replaced it & credited my account & I bought a different item #. My daughter has had a LL Bean backpack for almost 5 years now & it has held up! Definitely worth the money.