Summer vacation is quickly coming to end, and that means that school will be starting soon. As parents rejoice and kids moan, there’s likely one important activity on your agenda: back to school shopping. While just about every store offers some selection of school supplies, if you want to save money, you need to shop at the right places. Shop at the seven stores listed below and follow these tips to get your child back to school without breaking the bank.
Check out our DealsPlus Back to School roundup for 2016! It's the ultimate back-to-school shopping guide for everything you need to ace the school year.
Source: Walmart Corporate
Walmart has all your back to school needs covered. From clothes to backpacks to pencils to folders, this store has everything your child needs to start school in style. Walmart has everyday low prices on school supplies, but you can save even more by starting your shopping in late July or early August, when you’ll see markdowns on pencils, crayons and other school essentials. Sales typically continue through September, so if you left something off your list, you can come back it and get it for cheap once school starts and you find out what other items your child needs.
Target has everything that Walmart has. It just might be a little more difficult to find a Target near you. If you do, stop in and save on stylish clothes for your child. You can also find some great deals, with many back to school essentials for under $1. If you don’t have a Target near you, you can always shop online, but the best deals are likely to be in store.
3. Big Lots
Source: Big Lots
Big Lots is a great place to get discounts on just about anything, and school supplies are no exception. You can get notebooks for under a quarter, and backpacks start at just $9. Big Lots also dirt-cheap prices on technology, so if your college-aged child is looking for a new tablet, you can save big at Big Lots.
4. Dollar Tree
Source: The Original Dollar Store
You can’t go wrong by shopping at Dollar Tree because everything is just $1. They may not have everything you need, but you can get a variety of school essentials, such as pens, pencils, crayons, highlighters and notebooks. Keep in mind that Dollar Tree doesn’t have sales, however, so the prices will stay at $1 forever. This means that Walmart, Target and other places will have sales that will get you many items for under $1. So shop elsewhere first for the best deals, and keep Dollar Tree in mind for later on in the school year when the back to school sales have ended.
eBay has some great deals if you’re willing to buy basic school supplies lots. These lots include essentials such as notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, folders and crayons. There are also lots specifically for younger kids that include watercolor paints, art paper, scissors and hand sanitizer. The good thing about these items is that you can buy them now and have them within a week or so. You don’t have to bid on them and get the price jacked up like so many other auction items on eBay. Some start at low as $8.99, but some lots are priced as high as $80. If you’re planning on buying a lot, make sure that it includes supplies that you need. If you don’t plan on using most of the items, then you’re just wasting money. Also, be mindful of shipping costs when shopping at eBay or any other online store – that’s where the sellers get you! While some lots ship for free, I noticed that one lot in particular sells for $12.95, plus a shipping cost of $45.45! That’s a high price to pay for convenience! To see eBay’s current school supply lots, click here.
This online store offers discounted prices on bulk school, supplies. For example, you can get five backpacks for just $38.95 – that’s just over $7 each! You have to look around for the deals, though, because many items are cheaper at your local Walmart or Dollar Tree. For example, 12 basic three-ring binders sell for $24.95. That’s over $2 each, and you can definitely find them for under $1.50 elsewhere. You also have to be mindful of shipping costs, which go as high as $12.95. You get free shipping when you spend $160 or more, so this site may or may not be helpful for your back to school shopping, depending on how many children you have.
Source: Frugaled Monton Mama
Costco and other warehouse stores offer great deals on school supplies. However, you must shop wisely. You’ll have to buy in bulk, so if you don’t need a dozen glue sticks or 20 folders, then you’re stuck with the extras and you’re paying more for stud you don’t need. It may not be a good deal if you’re buying school supplies for just one child, but if you have a family of four or more, then Costco can save you money.
There are so many items you can buy your child, but what does he or she really need? Stay within your budget by sticking to the basics. Try to avoid turning this into a popularity contest by splurging on themed supplies and items with unnecessary features, like lights and music. Try not to go overboard as well. While it’s good to buy dozens of pencils, your child likely won’t need dozens of folders, notebooks, pencil sharpeners and other supplies. Be savvy about the prices of the items you’re buying and back to school shopping will be a piece of cake.