Notebooks, Post-it notes, pens, pads – it’s that time of the year again. Waiting around for those crazy, last-minute, 10-notebooks-for-a-dime specials could slash your spending, but there’s lots more you can do to save big. ShopSmart magazine shares their list of nine tips to make the most of back-to-school sales this August:
Save While Shopping for School and Office Supplies
1. Take inventory: Chances are, you already have some of the things you need in your home office.
2. Stick to your list: It makes sense to get a jump on the stuff you know you need (think filler paper and pencils), but wait for the school’s list to do the bulk of your shopping.
3. Consider swapping: If the search of your desk drawer turns up things you no longer have use for, swap them for things you do need. Call other moms, or go to Swapmamas.com. Click on School & Office to see listings from people who have stuff and people who need stuff.
4. Skip taxes: Many states offer tax-free shopping days in August to encourage spending on clothes. You might find information about your state by searching the Internet with your state and “tax holiday 2010.” Some states extend the discount to supplies and computers.
5. Buy in bulk: Warehouse clubs are great places to load up, but so are online stores like RaymondGeddes.com and DiscountSchoolSupply.com – just remember that shipping costs can add up if you don’t order in bulk.
6. Consider refurbs: Whether you need a laptop or your kid needs a fancy graphing calculator, refurbished or opened but unused products can save you hundreds of dollars. Check Amazon.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com/outlet, and SonyStyle.com/outlet.
7. Automate savings: Sign up at ShopItToMe.com to get an alert sent to you when there’s a sale on those expensive sneakers your son just has to have or those shoes you need for work.
8. Be strategic: Shopping the sales at a lot of stores could save you big bucks, but it’s a huge waste of time. Instead, search circulars online at YahooCircularCentral.shoplocal.com and SundaySaver.com. Then shop at stores with price-matching policies, such as Staples, Target, and Walmart.
9. Go to school: Ask whether your child’s school has a supply program where you buy one box with everything your kid needs for the year. Staples claims its SchoolKidz program offers savings of 20 to 50 percent.
From: Shopsmart September 2010 issue