Back to school season often results in big costs for the parents. Many parents complain that the supply lists get longer each year as their child gets older. Then there are other needed items, such as lunchboxes and uniforms to add to the tab.
Fortunately, if you hold off on buying supplies for as long as possible you can save big. Send your child to school with just the basics until prices start to drop. Then stock up on:
Most stores start clearance their extra inventory after Labor Day. Folders, pencils, paper, scissors, glue, pens, binders and pencil cases are just a few of the items you’ll be able to snag – often for cents on the dollar. Target’s clearance starts off at 30% and goes all the way to 90%. Stop in often or call the store to check the progress of the sale.
School uniforms also go on clearance in September. We’ve found polo shirts, khaki pants, skirts and jumpers for as low as two dollars each at Walmart. One bargain hunter even napped long sleeve polo shirts for .49 each after coupons at Old Navy! When you find cheap pieces, grab the next few sizes up for your child to grow into.
Lunchboxes usually follow the same clearance schedule as other school supplies. Consider sending lunch in a brown bag for the first week or two. It isn’t unusual to find lunchboxes and bags for as low as a buck or two once they hit clearance. Snack containers, thermoses and ice packs will also be on sale.
If possible, send your child to school with last year’s backpack until the new models go on clearance. Older children may complain that reusing last year’s lunch bag or backpack is a fashion faux pas. Encourage them to pick one out at the thrift store or use their own money to pay full price if they don’t want to wait for a good deal. We’ve seen backpacks go on deep clearance at just about every retailer that carries them. We’ve even found them for 75% off at high end retailers like Land’s End.
Pricing on laptops won’t be slashes as drastically as small school supplies, but many retailers do run “back to school” sales events. Consider a used or refurbished model to save money. A wide selection is usually available in September as students upgrade their computers before heading off to college.
By winter break, most kids have lose or used up at least some of their supplies. Don’t pay full price for replacements. Shop back to school clearance sales and create your own little store to pull from for the rest of the year. Stock up for the next school year while you’re at it. Do this every year and you may never have to pay full price for school supplies again!