School supplies are out at Target, what!
If you are like most mamas you are certainly not thinking about school supplies, making school lunches, managing homework, or frankly anything to do with what fall brings. But I am hoping to change your mind just a little bit.
While none of us are thinking about September yet, July is actually the month to grab those school supplies deals for the whole school year! Who needs to spend hundreds on pencils, notebooks, and glue sticks each year? Certainly not this mama! So instead of hearing the cash register ringing up high numbers, here are a few tips to help you save this back to school season and help build your school supply stockpile for the future.
First of all what is a stockpile? This is a collection of household goods, school supplies or food that was purchased at rock-bottom price so that you never have to pay full price for those items again.
So how do I build a stockpile of school supplies?
Here are few tips I have picked up over the past few years:
- First locate your school supply list. The Rochester Public Schools already has their lists posted under the families section of their main website:
- Do your homework. There are many money saving bloggers who do the work for you. Each day, these blogs will highlight different deals including numerous back to school deals starting in early July. All you have to do is follow their steps to score deal. Here are my favorites:
- Know your prices. You can search on hip2save.com for the school supplies price list. This is her recommended price to pay for different school supply items and comes in very handy when you are trying to figure out if something really is a good deal.
- Shop early in the week (think Sunday or Monday) and weekly starting around the fourth of July. Each week stores like Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Office Max and Staples sell different loss leaders (typically the store loses money or makes very little on these items) in order to lure buyers into their stores. Use these deals to your advantage. The one stop shopping experience for all the school supplies will not save you big dollars but small weekly trips will help you save big.
- One tip I picked up awhile back was to buy all the penny deals (you can get multiple items for just a penny each if you spend at least $5 on other supplies) each week at Office Max and Staples. Even if my children cannot use these deals I can either give them away to school supply drives, add them to my operation Christmas child boxes or in some cases use them in our home office. These deals are well explained each week by the bloggers listed above and worth picking up.
- Don’t forget about online shopping! Recently, Amazon started discounting large packages of Elmer’s glue sticks, pencils, sharpie markers. My neighbors and I purchased a 60 count Elmer’s glue sticks package together and paid only 19 cents a stick! 60 glue sticks sounds crazy but when you purchase large quantities with other moms who also need 12 glue sticks for their first grader (what do they do with glue sticks in first grade anyways) then it doesn’t seem as crazy to purchase 60 glue sticks! And these will last until next year too so you can always add the extras to your stockpile.
- Think outside of the box. There are many office supplies, snacks, and household items that are also great deals during the back to school season. We currently have a 10 year supply of copy paper that I purchased during back to school for literally pennies a couple years ago. It is also a great time to stock up on Ziploc baggies, paper towels and snacks for the kids.
- If you are going to spend money on back to school spend it on a GOOD backpack and lunch bag. This is one area that we splurge on (with a 20% off and free shipping code of course). We purchased a pottery barn kids backpack and lunch bag two years ago for our soon to be first grader. He has used these items daily for preschool, kindergarten and summer day camp for almost two years and they are still in great shape. They may have cost more up front but I haven’t had to replace them every year.
- Lastly, collect all of your stockpiled items in one bin or drawer in your home. When it is time for back to school your kids can “shop” from the stockpile. And you will hopefully have leftover supplies for the rest of the school year, maybe even next year or items that you can give away to the back to school drives or operation Christmas child boxes.
Happy deal shopping mamas!
About our guest contributor:
Julia is a proud mama of her 3 year old daughter and 6 year old son and stepmom to two teenager boys. She is a nurse practitioner in the department of Endocrinology at Mayo Clinic. In her “free time” Julia is busy deal shopping, drinking LOTS of coffee, reading, chasing her kids in the backyard, running or trying out a new workout class. And when her six year old started school last year she got the itch to go back to school one more time to pursue her doctorate of nursing practice.