We’re so excited to have the team at Hip2Save.com share their back-to-school shopping tips with our community. Hip2Save is the go-to spot for all things money-saving, so we’ll let them take it from here!
With back to school just weeks away, now is the time to snag some great deals on school supplies! Here are TEN tips to limit your out of pocket expenses and to maximize your savings…
Check Your Office/Closet/Pantry
You may be surprised to find that you can cross quite a few items off your school supply list simply by looking through your office drawers, pantry etc.
Shop Early for the Best Deals
The office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot/OfficeMax start rolling out their Back to School sales in early July. Check Hip2Save.com every week for all the best deals at these stores and be sure to shop the sales earlier in the week (preferably Sunday or Monday) as popular items tend to sell out quickly.
Price Match Whenever Possible
Staples, OfficeDepot/OfficeMax, Walmart and Target all offer a Price Match Guarantee Policy. If you find a lower price on a new identical item, just show the cashier the lower price when you buy the item and they’ll match the price. This can save you quite a bit of time and money since you’re not driving from store to store every week.
In fact, Staples is offering up a Back to School 110% Price Match Guarantee through September 19th, 2015. This means that Staples will price match items sold and shipped by Amazon.com or any retailer who sells products in both retail stores and online under the same brand. Not only will you receive a price match but you will receive an additional 10% off the difference between the Staples price and the competitor price.
Keep it Simple
Although your kiddos may navigate towards the glitter scissors or the Disney-themed folders, the most budget-friendly supplies are typically those without all the bells and whistles. However, you can easily add some pizazz to standard supplies – as one example, dress up a clear pencil case with temporary tattoos!
Purchase Items with Warranties
If you are in the market for a new backpack or heavy-duty binder, look for items that offer warranties. For example, Jansport Backpacks have a Lifetime Guarantee – if your pack ever breaks down, simply return it to their warranty center and they will either fix it, replace it or refund it! And Mead offers a one-year Five Star Notebook Guarantee.
If you plan to purchase certain brands of items (like Crayola, Mead or BIC), be sure to follow their social media pages for access to possible coupons, special offers and more.
Find a Shopping Buddy
Shopping with another parent (or a few other parents) allows you to buy items in bulk that may be greatly discounted – like a case of 10 reams of paper at Staples or a 100 pack of pens at Costco – and then split the cost amongst all of you.
Buying in Bulk is Not Always Better
Pay attention to the price per item/unit. As an example, see the different packages of Elmer’s glue sticks pictured above – a 6 count package of glue sticks sells for $1.97 (33¢ each), a 2 count package of glue sticks for 50¢ (25¢ each), and single jumbo glue sticks 4/$1 (25¢ each for jumbo size). Clearly, the single glue stick is the best deal but many shoppers assume the bigger 6-count package is a better buy!
Shop Your Local Dollar Store
Dollar Stores offer a wide variety of arts & crafts (crayons, paints, glue, poster board) and school supplies throughout the year. Keep in mind that some of the items sold at dollar stores are not the greatest quality and so they may not last as long as name-brand items sold elsewhere.
Check your Calendar
If you are lucky enough to live in an area that offers Tax Free Shopping Days, plan your Back to School shopping during these days! Depending on your state, you may be able to avoid paying tax on clothing, computers, school supplies and books!
Looking to save on clothes for Back To School? Be sure to check out Schoola.com where you’ll find a wide variety of gently-used clothing for boys, girls, juniors and women. In addition, Schoola offers all new members a FREE $15 credit whenever you sign up for a new account through this link AND you can also earn a FREE $10 credit for simply creating a custom collection (takes 2 minutes or less)!
About Hip2Save: Founded in 2008, Hip2Save.com is a frugal living blog that shows by example how to live a more fulfilling and rewarding life by saving money with coupons, taking advantage of the best online deals, and shopping stores with confidence!