Score an A+ on Back to School Deals

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like right after the 4th of July, we saw Back to School supplies sections being set up in local stores. Back to School time, like Halloween and Christmas, does seem to start earlier every year. Whether you look at this season with the fears of Halloween or the delight of Christmas, the fact is, it’s upon us. I’m sure you’ve looked at your list a few times, and you may have felt a bit overwhelmed. Well, I’m here to help! As a former classroom teacher, I have tips to help you score great Back to School deals, stay within budget, get what you need, and set your child and classroom up for success this school year!


Step 1 :: Start NOW!

Believe me, I know you don’t want summer vacation to end {or maybe you do}! Either way, Back to School shopping is NOT something to put off until the last minute. It’s something you should be starting right now, because the sales have already started up! By starting early, you can take care of items on your list gradually and do smart shopping instead of doing a last minute binge.

Heading to the grocery store? Take your list with you, and look at their Back to School section. If you find a few good sales, pick up those items now, cross them off your list, take them home, AND LABEL THEM! This will help you to stay organized, and it will also feel like less of a financial burden, because you’ll be biting off that list bits at a time.

Step 2 :: Shop the Deals

Another positive of shopping early is that you can shop the deals! As a former teacher, I always look up the weekly flyers for the big school supply retailers {Staples, Office Depot, Target, Walmart, etc.} and compare them. If you do this, you’ll notice that sale items switch between stores. Furthermore, some stores will offer deeper discounts than others on the same item based on the week you shop. For example, I recently picked up single subject spirals for 25 cents each at Staples. Those same spirals were going for 75 cents to a dollar at other stores the same week. 

Step 3 :: Buy Store Brand When Possible

Sometimes you want to buy name brand, and sometimes you simply don’t need to. By buying store brand over name brand on certain items, you can save BIG TIME! Here are my suggestions of times when it’s perfectly fine to buy store brand over name brand, because the quality is virtually the same. 

Store Brand Safe items ::

  • All paper items {filler paper, copier paper, notecards, spirals, notebooks, folders etc.}
  • Scissors
  • Erasers
  • Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Pens
  • Rulers, compasses, and protractors 
  • Liquid glue
  • Highlighters
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Pencil boxes/pouches
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Binders
  • Tissue {As long as it’s a large box and the tissue paper is NOT low quality.}

Brand Name Important Items ::

  • Colored pencils, markers, crayons {Crayola :: The brand name is usually just better.}
  • Permanent markers {Sharpie}
  • Glue sticks {Elmer’s Glue Sticks tend to be better.}

With all of these suggestions, make sure to double-check your list before going with a store brand. Some teachers/districts are VERY specific, and it’s important to get exactly what your child or teacher needs to have a successful year.

Step 4 :: Buy Extras Now or Right after the Season

I know it’s enticing to buy exactly what’s on the list and then dust off your hands to be done with it all. But I have a VALUABLE idea to save you money in the long run. While the sales are on, buy a few extra items for your children to have and either use at home as a “homework set” or in reserve when they run out at school. Extra items to buy as a homework set are writing utensils, filler paper, spirals, scissors, a ruler, and glue. This is a good deal because right now you can get deep discounts on these items. More likely than not, your kids are going to run low on these items come February. If you have some in reserve, you’re replenishing your supply with your sale items instead of having to run out and buy these supplies at full price.

On another note, consider buying some extra classroom supplies for your children’s teachers while prices are low. I can’t tell you how excited I would get to receive new dry erase markers, highlighters, post-its, sharpies, and especially Kleenex when my supplies were dwindling around Christmas or Spring Break. 

Finally, if you don’t want to buy extra items during the full swing of Back to School shopping, make sure to watch for deep discounts RIGHT AFTER the Back to School season. Many retailers {grocery stores especially} are pushing to put out their Halloween decorations and need to make room to do so. During this time, they will put school supplies at a DEEP discount.

Step 5 :: Take Advantage of Tax Free Weekend {August 10-12}

This is when I do most of my Back to School clothes shopping. Disclaimer :: I ALWAYS go early and bring my patience, because stores can get slammed, but many clothing stores provide BIG discounts on this weekend to lure customers. Want a bigger discount? Go to a second-hand store like Once Upon a Child to get Back to School clothes that weekend.

Does your child go to a private school and need a new uniform? Make sure to ask your school if they’re doing any used uniform sales, or if there’s a moms’ group that passes along used uniforms. These are great ways to stay within budget and to get your kids exactly what they need!

Score and A+ on Back to School Deals | Houston Moms Blog

Have any more ideas? Put them in the comments below, and I’m sure you’ll get a gold star from all of our readers!

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