I don't wait until a week before school to shop for supplies.
I shop all year.
With two kids now in high school, I have a good idea of what they will need from year to year.
In our district, there isn't a supply list for junior high or high school.
For my daughter's elementary school, I keep the list in my phone so I can refer to it while I am out shopping.
In the last 10 years, I have learned where to shop and when.
My favorite stores for school supply shopping are Staples and Walmart.
Staples is very competitive with their prices and I love the big selection.
During the Target exodus, I also stocked up on pens, paper, binders and glue.
In July, Staples and Walmart will start with door crasher specials like packs of pencils and notebooks for 10 cents.
I have a box that I keep adding to and then I just pick up a few remaining things before school starts.
I go through all of the kid's supplies that come home in June, and set aside headphones, markers, pencil cases and unused folders that are still in great shape.
I rarely shop at the dollar store for school supplies, as they are significantly more expensive then back to school deals at other stores.
If your child needs an art book though, the dollar store is the best place to get it - and that was a teacher recommendation!
Here are my 3 guidelines for buying school supplies.
1. Shop your home and re-use supplies from last year. Granted, boys are tougher on supplies and I'm lucky to see a pencil stub come home, but my girls usually have quite a bit that is in good condition.
2. Stock up when you see great sales all your long. Your kids will also need more pens and paper through out the year, so it's a good idea to keep extra stock at home when you find it cheap.
3. KNOW YOUR PRICES! This guideline alone, will save you the most. I wrote down what I paid for each item and where, on last years list and filed it away. It took me very little time, but now I know what I paid & where I bought it.
Writing down what I spent also proved what I already knew, I spent about half of what a supply kit ordered from the school would cost.
Keep in mind that stores will offer rock bottom pricing to get you in the door and then overcharge you on other items. If your aware of a good sale price, then you can avoid over-spending.
Staples and Walmart will also price match, so if your short on time and want to get your shopping done in one place - use this valuable tool.
You can use a paper flyer or phone apps like Reebee and Flyerify.
Just like last summer, I will also update the website with all the best back to school deals!