Sunday, 17 July 2011
Guest post from Ultimate Coupons Blog
It’s that time again: time to start scouting out the best back-to-school bargains on notebooks, calculators, markers and protractors. The kids might think it’s too early to shop for school supplies, but notebooks don’t come with expiration dates and back-to-school sales don’t last forever.
Keep in mind that school supplies that are shiny and new on the first day of school may well run out by Halloween. It’s good to stock up on many of the essentials to stave off that Sunday-night run to the nearest shopping center for new crayons and glue sticks.
Can't Live Without These:
With kids in elementary school, high school and college, I like to make sure I’ve got plenty of each of these:
* spiral notebooks in various sizes
* marble composition books
* graph paper
* glue sticks
* glue bottles
* poster paper
* colored pencils
It’s a lot easier to grab these items out of a box in the basement than to make a late-day, last-minute store run when the glue sticks run out mid-book report. And even if your kids prefer to use mechanical pencils, make sure you’ve got a few boxes of #2 pencils around for those standardized-tests days, since no other pencils fill in the little circles on the answer sheet quite like #2s.
Save with Coupons From Target
Target already has school supplies on display and on sale, though they’re not yet mentioned in the local circulars.
With the printable coupons available on their website, you can score some nearly-free essentials like Papermate pens, Sharpies and Scotch tape. Prices vary by location, but 10-packs of Papermate pens are marked between 99 cents and $1.02; pair that price with the $1-off printable coupon to get that pack of blue, black or red pens either free or for just pennies. Scotch Magic tape is priced at $1 in my local Target, and I got that free with a printable coupon. Sharpie products and BIC pens are also deeply discounted once you add in the coupons. Most of Target’s printable coupons expire within 14 days.
Bundle Up for Savings at Walmart
Prefer to do your school-supply shopping online? Walmart is offering free shipping to home on school uniforms and supplies. They have backpack bundles that include a new Eastsport backpack in your choice of color, filled with pencils, glue sticks, crayons, filler paper, scissors and erasers. A choice of binders can be added at an additional cost. If you know your child is going to need all or most of these items, Walmart’s backpack bundles are a great bargain. Bundles without backpacks are also available, and the site is indexed by grade level for easy shopping. It sure beats standing in line at the store!
Don't Pass Up Deals at Staples
Staples has rolled out a new discount program this year, good on in-store purchases only. You’ll need to get to Staples this week, though, to take advantage of the Back to School Savings Pass. It’s a discount card that you purchase for $10 that gives you 15% off your school-supply purchase. You can use it once a day through September 17.
You’ll need to spend more than $67 on school supplies at Staples to recoup your $10 investment in the card–which isn’t hard to do if your middle-school student needs one of those expensive graphing calculators. This program is especially helpful when you don’t have a school-supply list early enough in advance to take advantage of back-to-school sales in July and early August, since the savings continue through the first few weeks of the school year. So far, the other big-box office supply stores haven’t answered with savings programs of their own.
Staples also has several 50-cent deals this week: you’ll find 12-inch rules, clipboards, colored paper clips, pencil boxes, composition books and more priced at 50 cents each. Staples photo paper and BIC brite liner highlighters are both free after rebate, for a total of $18.99 in savings.
Take Time to Plan Ahead
While supermarkets and drugstores are starting to stack 5-subject notebooks, printer paper and other back-to-school buys near the registers, that doesn’t mean the prices are right. With a long back-to-school shopping season ahead, it doesn’t pay to buy school supplies on impulse. Keep watching those circulars for the best prices!
So even though your kids may not have unpacked their backpacks after the last day of school, it’s not too soon to start stocking up for the first day of school. Don’t rush to buy clothes for the kids, though–they always seem to grow by the inch in the summertime.
Do you have any plans or tips for saving money when it comes to back to school shopping? Please share with us!