Back to school savings: 6 tips for saving money on school supplies

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MILWAUKEE — Summer is in full swing and while you may be thinking about pools and beaches — retailers are thinking about pencils and binders. Believe it or not, stores are already in back to school mode and supplies shopping season is underway.

A recent survey from the National Retail Federations reveals more parents plan to use coupons and hunt newspapers circulars to find good deals on school supplies this year.

But, you may not need to if you follow six simple tips:

  •  Empty your kid's backpack: There may be good supplies hiding in the pockets or at the bottom of your child's backpack. Check that out first to find items on the upcoming school year's list.
  • Set online price alerts: While you may be heading out to the store for most of the school supplies, it can be helpful to setup online price alerts for more expensive items like laptops or tablets. There are several browser add-ons to do this with like PriceBlink or CamelCamelCamel.
  • Shop solo: If it's possible, leave the kids at home when you head out to buy school supplies. This will not only help speed up your shopping trip, but you're less likely to make unnecessary or impulse purchases.
  • Shop around: It may seem convenient to get all the school supplies in one place, but that doesn't always mean you're getting the best deal. If you want to save money, scope out different stores and look at their sales and discounts. It may be more time consuming, but it will keep some extra cash in your wallet.
  • Buy in bulk: You may not need 100 pens or pencils right now, but you can use them later. When you buy in bulk the unit price is cheaper. So, it may seem like too many of one item now, but you won't have to shop for that item later in the school year or even next year.
  • Go plain: Many retailers offer notebooks, binders, backpacks and more with cool designs or cartoons, but those come at a price. If you're looking to save, stick to the items that are the basic colors.

In the end, no matter where, when or how you decide to shop the key to saving money is planning.


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  • Bryan Slodden

    Alot of these “back to school” articles dont provide children with some useful knowledge especially when it comes to saving money. This one actually had some great tips, the only thing I didnt see on here was anything about textbooks. I think having to pay full price for a new textbook and then selling it back for a third of the price is highway robbery! After my son came home telling me he had to buy 350 dollars worth of textbooks and then that same semester only got 87 dollars back, we were done. After some research on the best prices we found a site called that does a price comparison so whenever we buy or sell a book back we always get the most money. Its really not like me to comment on stuff like this or talk bad about anyone but I really think these textbook companies are making way too much money for a book that is only used for one semester and then never again! Its so important to be prepared in every way you can for your school year and I think if you stay organized with some of the tips this article has and dont pay full price for everything you need your kids will be just fine. Great Job Fox6, nice article

  • Rachel

    Emptying out your backpack is a smart idea, you never know what could be hiding in there. I always make sure to stock up on supplies so that they’ll last us throughout the year, that way we don’t have to worry about replacing them later on. Thanks for sharing!

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