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Amanda 08-05-2006 09:23 AM

Back to School - saving money
Ok guys, let's hear all the great ways that you save money on back to school shopping. Whether it be clothing, school supplies, books, software, whatever it is. Share your ideas and tips here!


ellenmelon 08-05-2006 10:59 AM

We found that shopping before the 3rd week of August gave us the best selection (saved time) and also had some pre-season sales and also take advantage of the end of season sales. DDs are going to the mall tonight to scope it out and I'll go with them in the next few days to make the purchases.

If you are a homeschooler or have a teaching certificate our Office Depot will give you a Star Teacher discount card and coupons. Same for Barnes and Noble. Only there you have to be actively teaching in a school system and not just hold the certificate.

We do a lot of hand me downs from aunts and nieces. That really helps. And the girls do some exchanges with friends.

One dd picks up lost and forgotten pencils and has a box full of them. The other dd recycles most of her notebooks and folders. This is after the big bonfire they have at the end of the school year for classes for which they will not want the notes again.

We shop throughout the year and try to get to the stores before the college students do. So we keep track of the return dates and move in weekends on campus and work around those.

ronsan 08-05-2006 11:04 AM

Tax free shopping days
We braved the crowds at Wal-Mart this morning beginning at 7 a.m. to get all the supplies and clothing needed to start four granddaughters back to school. The state of Missouri tax is forgiven this weekend although city and county taxs were not in our locale. It all helps when you are buying for that many, however. The prices were very good, as is normal for Wal-Mart's Back-to-School Tax Free annual sale, the Associates in the clothing departments were incredibly helpful and although I wouldn't term it a fun time, it was a very worthwhile event. We then blow the savings by taking everyone out for breakfast! LOL Very few families with school-aged children are able to handle these expenses without some help, and we consider it a blessing to be part of this annual event. My only "point to ponder" ~ sounds better than calling it a complaint ~ is what does any second grader need with $44 worth of school supplies!!?? :head:

Ronsan (southwestern Missouri)

RobertaD 08-05-2006 01:21 PM

I was able to get the "supplies" that were on my 5th graders list on sale ($.01, $.05, $.10, $.25) over a couple of weeks at Staples and used ink cartridges $3 coupons to pay for it. FIL had given me 3 cartridges and I had 2 that I redeemed. I picked up extra glue, crayons, markers, pencils, etc. to use at home and replace as needed through the school year. There is also a $30 supply fee to be paid when school starts.

For clothing we stopped at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago and found 5 pair of pants, 7 short sleeve shirts and about 10 long sleeve shirts for winter. I will keep an eye out for shoes to go on sale as she will need the next size tennis shoe before Christmas.

DD2 is pretty well set since I saved DD1's clothes and they always get clothes for Christmas.


sweetnell3 08-05-2006 02:04 PM

We buy backpacks on clearance for 2:oo to 4:00 dollars apeice each year the regular price for these are 15:00 to 20.00 dollars apeice. we also get notebooks for any where from .50 cents to a dollar each.we stockpile on notebook paper and the 7o page spirals notebooks. We also go alot of package pencils for .02 cents a package. We get the floders with and without brads to save back. I also look out for clearance sale clothes& shoes. WE always buy on tax free weekend each year. Dd birthday is in Oct. so she gets clothes then and at christmas.

ajrsmom 08-05-2006 02:47 PM

I wish that I would've bought my son a backpack when they went on sale last summer. I guess I can't complain that much though because that will be the only really big purchase that I'm making for him to start school.

We bought 2 notebooks, crayons, scissors and a pencil sharpener when these were on sale a couple of weeks ago. I bought a huge pack of glue sticks last year so he has a great start for this year---they go threw these like wildfire!! We have plenty of pencils that I received signing up for freebies. Grandma is sending him a new lunchbox like the one he had last year! :)

My Mom is so small that she buys little boys t-shirts when they are on sale. She wears a 12-14 (perfect for my son). Since is a clothes fanatic and gets tired of wearing the same things after just a few times. She is sending 5 shirts to my son--and he is just thrilled with this because he misses her so much.

I am going to hit GoodWill here soon to see if I can find him 3-4 pairs of jean shorts. The Goodwill stores here are nothing compared to the ones where I lived in Pa.

I'm also looking for a good deal on shoes.

Right before school, he will get a haircut--$8.00 is the cheapest cut I can find around here and the lady did a really nice job.

I dont know about everyone else but I am looking forward to school starting again!!:frypan:

Bilby 08-05-2006 03:33 PM

We have uniforms for all our schools here, which last for years at least 3, shirts are bought from school with a logo and the shorts anywhere, high school they are bought from school, ds1 is still wearing shirts from 3yrs ago but due to growth spurt they are getting short and will have to buy new ones for his last year next yr (gr12) but I have ds2 go into high school as ds1 leaves so the will be handed down, I love uniforms.
I only buy new stuff if the kids need it, I know some of thier friends just get new stuff as it the new year but if there is nothing wrong with what they have, shoes, backpack etc I don't replace it.
There are always back to school sales so I buy thier stuff then with an extra pkt of coloured pencils etc as they always go through rubbers, rulers, glue sticks and they are dearer to buy later, also they only tell you they need a new one as you're off to school and no shops open.
At high school we have a levy that includes all text books and printouts for the year, it is cheaper if you pay this within the first month of school to encourage early payment, so I always pay this to save my $15 other than that high school is rather cheap.

ajrsmom 08-05-2006 07:19 PM

I really wish they would have uniforms for our kids here too--at least for the elementary and middle schools. It's hard to believe that it's not the schools that are really against it but rather the parents! :chin: We could save so much money that way.

My son actually loves the idea of uniforms. He likes that he would be dressing like his Dad and that he would always looked "dressed up" and not messy---he is not into the most recent trends of worn, dirty looking jeans and faded t-shirts. Jokingly he said that he would start his own fashion statement if I would buy him uniform clothes.

redcardinalbird 08-05-2006 09:39 PM

For the school supplies I watch the ads and get which are on sale. If they are identical the store I usually go to will price match. I also buy at the end of the year when they are clearancing out supplies. This way I can get backpacks and binders that are not normally real cheap before school.

We are in uniforms. Unfortunately they are brand new uniforms this year for a new school. You can not buy used ones anywhere. I bought dd one and her Grandmother bought another one. For DS she also bought him some new pants. Since they are blue or tan I can find those at yards sales, thrift stores or will look at end of the season.

debknechtel 08-06-2006 06:32 AM

I recycle whatever I can from the past year. I rarely buy a new lunch kit or back pack unless the old ones are broken. I reuse anything i can form the past year. I will stock up on pencils and a few other items when they go on sale. Shoes I got the other day for 3 dollars a pair due to summer clearout. Most of my clothes for Paige and jamie are second hand. i just bought a huge garbage bag full for 50 dollars and it was full of Gymboree clothes for Paige. Jamies birthday is next week so many family members get him clothes. Ryan is really the only one I have to buy a new wardrobe for, I shop wisely and can usually outfit him for 150 dollars for the year. Some of dads old sweatshirts and t-shirts are fitting him. and he is wearing the same size shoes as him. Even though the kids get hand me downs we let them buy one new outfit of their choice for the first days of school.

Hugs debbie

Amanda 08-06-2006 07:06 AM


Originally Posted by ajrsmom
I wish that I would've bought my son a backpack when they went on sale last summer. I guess I can't complain that much though because that will be the only really big purchase that I'm making for him to start school.

Do you have Big Lots by you? They have been advertising a sale here that includes a backpack filled with school supplies for $20!

ajrsmom 08-06-2006 11:02 AM


Originally Posted by FamilyCorner
Do you have Big Lots by you? They have been advertising a sale here that includes a backpack filled with school supplies for $20!

There isn't a Big Lots here close by that I know of. That is a good deal of the backpack is decent quality. Did you happen to buy one?

My son used his backpack from last year, this summer to carry books and movies home from the library. It looks kinda ratty so he got a new one.

Debbie, You caught some great deals!!!

I found sandals at WalMart for $5.00 but they didn't have my son's size. I haven't checked the ads in today's newspaper.

cat lover 08-11-2006 12:58 PM

We always bought the back to school sales for supplies to last at least till the next year back to school sale. Always worked except for a few things after classes changed mid year and they had to have some different things. When the boys were small I shopped at the thrift stores for most of their everyday school clothes and play clothes for the summer. As they got into middle school and high school that didn't work any longer so I told them how much money I would spend for new items and they had to find the best price for what they wanted to make the money go further or live with what little they got if they didn't spend wisely. And if they wanted to spend more than the allotted amount they had to cover it. It worked very well and there were no more arguments over what they wanted to buy.

Now I buy some of the really good supplies when they are inexpensive and give them to kids in the family to help out.

martiehawk 08-13-2006 04:49 PM


Originally Posted by ellenmelon
Same for Barnes and Noble. Only there you have to be actively teaching in a school system and not just hold the certificate.

Actually, if you take your declaration of intent or some other homeschool id - like your Homeschool Association card, etc., Barnes and Noble will issue you a Teacher's Discount card. You just have to let them know that what you are purchasing is for teaching. Not everything is discounted like with their regular discount. Most of the time I find that Teacher discount saves me more even when it's not for everything. I saved $30 last weekend by using my teacher discount during Georgia's Tax Free Holiday.

Homeschoolers can also get teacher discounts at most anyplace any other teacher does, by showing your DOI or Homeschool Group Member ID card. It is always worth asking about!

For clothes and some books, my girls have decided they love the Goodwill and another local thrift store here. The other store offers 50% off EVERYTHING on Monday's. We're trying to make that part of our Monday routine now.

ditzy46 08-14-2006 06:08 AM

Even though my kids are no longer in school, I do purchase school supplies for the Head Start and elementary schools here and donate them. 2 weeks b4 school starts the teachers get together and have like a big garage sale at one of the schools so the kids can buy supplies real cheap. We live in a poor county so this is extremly helpful for the kids and parents. They also bring used stuff like clothes, shoes, pencils, etc. for free. They collect stuff all summer for this sale. People donate many things. Like me who buys on tax free days do this every year..of course it breaks my heart this year because I can't contribute as much as I have in the past because as most of you know I am not working and still have no car..I used to spend about $100 for these kids but now I can only afford about $40. My neighbor will bring all my donations to the school for me as she does this too.
Gotta go for now

Denahowy 08-14-2006 11:49 AM

We have over previous years stockpiled some items. As we always bought more at discounted prices or when on sale throughout the year. Also purchased some items at dollar stores throughtout the years. So we only had to buy certain items, which we bought at a dollar store, a Fred's superdollar store to be exact. We got 10 folders for $1, scissors for $1, 3 ring binders for $1 each, heavy duty kind, not cheap plastic ones that wear out really quick. Also got rulers cheap. They had good deals on backpacks too, even got my daughter a Hillary Duff backpack, it says stuff by Duff and my son got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack too. They are good size and look to be made well. So we think they well last a few years too. They had backpacks, from $4.88 on up. We paid about 12 a piece for their character type backpacks. I think they will last a while too. We bought the kids clothes throughout the Summer as they were clearanced. Plus we bought on sale items and clothes at thrift stores for school. We even got some name brand clothes in good shape for $1 for a piece for shirts and a winter coat for a dollar too. The coat was like new, it all worked well, it even had furry ends on the sleeves and fur up on the collar. It was even my daughter's favorite color of Purple too. As she likes purple and pink and now she has 2 coats As she already had a pink one and now she has jackets in both her favorite colors. The kids also got clothes from thrift stores and yard sales. Also a few special items like a denim jacket for my daughter and my son got some new cargo pants that zip off into to shorts too. So they are ready to got back to school I would say. Their shoes are in good shape, so I am waiting to purchase new ones until later on as they wore flip flops and sandals this Summer and didn't wear out their shoes. That way, their shoes will last another so many months too. Next week they start school here. So this is their final week of Summer vacation. They start Aug. 21st here.
Summer vacation has gone quick for them. So back into the swing of things for us again.

bensmom526 08-18-2006 05:11 PM

My first time..
It's my first time buying school supplies...and haven't a clue what I am doing
I stocked up on pencils when STAPLES had their penny sale...also RITEAID had a great sale and uhh lets say 5 gross of pencils later I think I'm covered =0) and uhh couple dozen boxes of crayons markers etc.

I just got Ben's school list..and had I bought him a dozen red marble notebooks <3 for a $1>only to find out he needs a 3 ring binder and a 150 pg spiral notebook..for kindergarten Ive never heard of this i was in middle school when I first used a binder..

poor kid...I ordered him a personalized wheeled POWER RANGER backpack and binder from the disney store doesnt that sound a bit much for a 5yr old to carry 2 notebooks and books:nerves:

ajrsmom 08-18-2006 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by bensmom526
It's my first time buying school supplies...and haven't a clue what I am doing
I stocked up on pencils when STAPLES had their penny sale...also RITEAID had a great sale and uhh lets say 5 gross of pencils later I think I'm covered =0) and uhh couple dozen boxes of crayons markers etc.

I had to laugh at this because I tend to go overboard on things like pencils too. I had enough left from last year that I didn't have to buy and this year. :)


Originally Posted by bensmom526
I just got Ben's school list..and had I bought him a dozen red marble notebooks <3 for a $1>only to find out he needs a 3 ring binder and a 150 pg spiral notebook..for kindergarten Ive never heard of this i was in middle school when I first used a binder..

Wow! That is a lot for a kindergarten student. Congratulations as he starts his journey into becoming a "big boy". Do you think that you will cry when he walks away for the first time? I teared up a little on my son's first day. He was so excited though.

MrsManiac 08-21-2006 08:33 AM

I had enough stuff left over from last year that we really didn't have to spend much this year on supplies. There will be a few things, of course, but they never give us a list until after school starts!! But things like pencils and crayons are horded all year long, and I'd found glue sticks for a except for notebooks, paper, etc we're set.

I buy my kids new backpacks every year..mainly because they trash them lol...but also because most of their clothes are hand-me-downs and I know how I felt going to school with everyone else in new clothes and I was in leftovers. They don't get much choice in the clothes they have to wear, but I let them choose their backpacks and their shoes, within a price limit. This year cost us less than $30 for both kids, so I'm not complaining!! Now I just need to start stashing away some money for the field trips, sports, etc.

Denahowy 08-21-2006 08:48 AM

I know what you mean. I save money for field trips and other activities, as there is always something once they are in school a while. My son my do Soccer this year, and if he does that will cost a little here. My daughter may do choir, so that won't cost as much I don't think. She may eventually do band too, over the next few years or so. We usually purchase new backpacks if the existing ones are worn out and they get to pick them out. If they have a sale on backpacks or tote bags and such, we will purchase more for use later on too. So usually we are prepared in advance. I know what you mean, we didn't have to buy as much, as had lots of leftover items from the past few years to use and bought a few extra folders and binders for use at school. So will help. Also throughout the year we purchase extra school supplies as they are on sale at some stores too. The kids get a few new t shirts and such and the rest is used clothing from yard sales and thrift stores. As I have a girl and a boy and the only things they reuse are things I buy in the boys section for my daughter that as she outgrows it can be passed on to my son, like shorts and certain t shirts. I also have older shirts I don't wear, as they won't fit, so I give those to my daughter, as they are smalls and mediums. My son's old clothes were given to someone we know, so they will get another use by them. As some were new for our son and some used, but in good shape. So they will get another use. Also sell some of his things in yard sales too. As well as give away and sell some of my daughter's clothes too. so between thrift stores and other stores, we get the kids outfitted. I like clearance sales too. We get some great deals then for the kids. We buy new t shirts when clearanced, and new if cheap enough. We dont spend over about $7 at the most for a t shirt new ever so often.

Have a great day.

bensmom526 08-21-2006 11:15 AM

Is this a supply list or a wish list?
ajrsmom: Ben cry maybe a little..he says he's not scared just nervous..none of his preschool friends are going to this school..Me I look at him and cry wondering where my baby is..Dh has taken the morning of the 5th off to be there comfort my crying when I walk out the school building
:hissy: :hissy: :hissy: :hissy:

I have so much to buy the list has to be close to $100 and its all specific name brands he needs clorox wipes to wipe down the keyboard at music class..I have to go to an art store for his art's ridiculous
my MIL did say she'll help buying the uniforms...<keeping fingers crossed>
What happened to kindergarden being about cookies juice and eating paste?

Vrsherren 08-26-2006 09:06 PM

:popped: Just when I thought I didn't have to be concerned about "Back to School" along comes the grandkids!

My dd is very good about getting the school uniforms on sale durring our "tax free on school items" weekend or getting them second hand, as there is a group at both schools that recycle clothes. Its the rest of the stuff that can be a problem.
Now they have a list each child has to bring, like pencils, kleenex, sani-wipes, lined paper, etc. and the Teacher doles them out "as needed". Its kind of unfair here as there are some dead beats that refuse to bring the items on the list and the rest have to supply their child/children. I figure if you can afford a caddy you can afford to buy your kids supplies.
Grandma helps out with going to the dollar stores and picking up supplies and labeling them. I found a place that had pronged folders with pockets (required) that were 5 for a dollar! Usually here they are 2 for a dollar. Pencils 20 for a dollar, paper in 150 ct pkg. 2 for a dollar. Amazing what I can find @ the dollare stores in late July! Plus in December it will all go on sale again! Just in time to restock. I keep it in one closet and if the need arises I can pull it out.


cat lover 08-27-2006 05:14 AM

Sounds wonderful;that is what we did when the DS were in school; bought it all on sale during the year and never paid full price when they needed more during the school year! No GK so no need for any now!~

RobertaD 08-27-2006 06:21 AM

My DH asked if DD1's school supplies went into a community fund. I wrote her name on everything that I could before sending them to school.

I used the Staples $3 coupons for returning ink cartridges to pay for most of her supply list. Bought over a couple of weeks and picked up what the weekly specials were. Had to have purple, blue, red, yellow, green single subject wide rule notebooks with matching color two pocket folders with the fasteners. That was fun to shop for.


MrsManiac 08-28-2006 08:30 AM

I really really wish I could get Vince his pants at yard sales--he's very tall and skinny and finding jeans is impossible. He would wear a 7 slim-tall, if they made them lol!! I usually buy him an 8 slim so the legs are long enough and have my mil take in the waist.

Roberta, we don't have a community fund here, but a lot of the parents will buy a few extra items and donate them to the class to kind of help out. I did this year because last year things were really bad for us and we spent a lot of time depending on the kindness of others for even the most basic things like notebook paper!! So any time I can return the favor, I do. But I write the kids' names on everything, too. Had some kid last year try to swipe Matt's pen--he had the only one like it in school and it was still a hassle because we need to label everything!!

Vivian--I hate the "namebrand" list they send home lol!! I don't use most of it myself, yet I have to buy it for school. But I guess it's better than having very sick kids all year.

RobertaD 08-28-2006 09:00 AM

I'm going to redeem some more ink cartridges at Staples today and pick up colored pencils, more notebook paper and another pack of notebooks. Figure might as well get them now when they are on sale and I have coupons to pay for it.

We have always picked names off the Salvation Army Angel tree for Christmas the last couple of years I've picked up things on clearance and matched a kid to what I had already bought then just finished with buying clothes, etc. for their size. With the extra crayons, colored pencils, paper, scissors, etc. I'll look for someone wanting arts & craft items.


Pag36 08-28-2006 10:13 AM

I too pick off the childrens Angel Tree but have any of you picked from the Seniors Angel Tree asuming you have them where you live. Gina and I did that last year we really enjoyed doing it.

suzster 08-28-2006 12:42 PM

Don't know if any of you guys are ever looking for software or that kind of school stuff but Academic Superstore has some really great deals for students and teachers. Check it out if you haven't heard of it...Just one more way to save :)

RobertaD 09-02-2007 04:58 AM

I sure was glad that I had purchased the maxium allowed last year at the $.01, $.05 sales as the good stuff wasn't that cheap this year.

Had just about everything on the list at home this year except a single subject wide rule red notebook but Grandma had one.

Had purchased socks and underwear for the kids before school started on sale. We have been given bags of clothes from my sister and SIL's neighbor so didn't need to buy clothes for DD1. Will probably need to buy some long pants in a month for DD1 after checking to see what still fits and the hand me downs that will work but need hemmed.


preacherswife 09-21-2007 02:05 PM

I bought Land's End or Jansport backpacks, as those companies will replace them if they wear out. They did, and they did!

preacherswife 09-21-2007 02:09 PM

Also, every Sunday I checked the ads online to see who had the things on the school lists cheapest and bought them when in the area of those stores. Everything came in under .25 except baby wipes, hand sanitizer, dry erase markers, and kleenex, which they had at the dollar store. If a brand name was specified, I ignored it because it all goes into a class storage area so the kids don't care, and it almost all comes from the same maker with a different label anyway.

Amanda 07-30-2008 06:03 PM

It's that time again! Time to start thinking about back to school shopping.

This year I had wanted to shop early, and I still think it is fairly early, but I had hoped I would be done at least buying supplies. But of course I haven't even started :(

Any suggestions on saving money on back to school?

RobertaD 07-31-2008 06:46 AM

DD1 is pretty well set for clothes at least until the snow flys. I picked up at Steve & Barry's ($8.98 store) a dress, zippered sweater, 2 pants, 2 tops, gym bag. At the Salvation Army store she got 2 jeans, 5 tops and at a garage sale picked up a pair of jeans. All totaled $72.

DD2 gets a lot of hand me downs but I did get her a new pair of pants and 2 shirts at Steve & Barrys.

As for school supplies I stocked up last year on the $.01 sales so I don't need to buy anything this year with the exception of a package of wipes which I got last week at the grocery during a super sale and I had coupons.


Bernice 07-31-2008 04:41 PM

For school supplies, I usually buy when they are on sale or clearance, I stick to the notebook paper, pencils, color pencils, crayons and erasers. If I find a cool backpack and DS likes it, we get it on mark down. This year no luck, will have to pay full price.

The teacher requested supply list, we also have the name brand listed, but they will accept the store brand as well. We have had a few that griped, but if you don't want it, then we will take it back home. Yes, I did use that with a "Name brand conscious" teacher before.

Our school system has gone to a type of uniform dress code, but it isn't really. They have to wear a polo style shirt or dress shirt and they all must be tucked in from 1st grade to senior high. Last year is was solid shirts only, but this year they will allow some strips. The pants have to be blue or khaki or jeans. (not faded or too washed). It has been a pain, because I don't feel that this has to an issue at the school. If the 10% that had droopy pants and wore the shirts 3 sizes too big, were asked to dress correctly, we wouldn't have this dress code. (We wouldn't want to single out anyone here!)

:( sorry got on a touchy subject!

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