These tips to save money on school supplies is sponsored by ACCO Brands as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
It is that time of year when parents swarm the stores to grab the best deals on pencils, pens, folders, binders, book bags, markers and more. The time of year when stores never stock enough office/school supplies. The “Black Friday” of the school year! It’s back to school ya’ll!
And that means it is time for back to school supply shopping. And I hate back to school supply shopping. With a passion!
All the crowds urgently rushing through the smaller than normal aisles because someone decided it would be a good idea to put a large pallet display in the middle of the aisle where 25 moms are trying to get through with cart and 5 kids in tow.
The pushy Moms rushing to get the last item on the shelf because of our stores never stocking enough for all the schools in our area.
Or all the moms fighting over that last Five Star folder or binder on the shelf because it’s the coveted quality item, seeing as it will last all year long!
The kids whining that they don’t want to be at the store and all the “are we done yet”s even though you are there FOR THEM!
Not to mention the stress of finding the one crazy obscure item that is insanely difficult to find the teacher insists on that the store never carries!
Yes, I really hate back to school supply shopping. So I do everything I can to make it as efficient and easy as possible. So I can get in, get out as fast as possible and efficient enough to only have to do it once a year!
First and foremost I use a back to school shopping checklist so I get everything done all in one trip. This way, I only have to brave the crowds ONCE, and not forget anything.
And wouldn’t you know it, this efficient method of doing back to school shopping not only saves me time and sanity it is also the best way to save money on school supplies as well!
So in case you are a mom like me that can’t stand the back to school crowds, let me share my secrets to save money on school supplies and save your sanity as well!
5 steps to save money on school supplies
1: Gather the required supplies lists from all teachers.
Hopefully, your schools are more on the ball than mine, and they have the school supplies list available before the first day of school. This truly helps if you can get access before the first day. The earlier the better.
But even if your school waits until the last minute, you can still make it work, you just won’t have as much time to get organized and you’ll have more crowds to deal with.
Gather all the required supplies lists from all the teachers for all of your kids.
2: Make a list based on items needed, not separated by Teacher.
I start making a list of items that are required for that year based on the item. List out each and every time a teacher mentions Pen next to each other on the list and the type of pen. Then Pencils, folders, binders, etc. Put a symbol next to each item based on the child it is requested for. So, later on, you can keep track of which child needs what.
If you have a child in the younger elementary schools who won’t be rotating subjects and actually needs the full quantities, put asterisks by those items so you know those are the exact numbers you need and can’t condense the number later.
3: Decide how many items can be shared between classes.
Unless the teacher specifically says their binder is for their class only, many times your child can have 1 binder for multiple subjects. That not only saves you money, but it saves your child stress, space and back pain from having to haul as much weight around.
Really, wouldn’t you rather just carry around one or two central binders for all your subjects or 7 different binders, one for each subject?
When it comes down to it, often times, all the teachers require pencils and many want pens. Black and blue pens are safe bets. Occasionally some teachers will want red pens for grading. So get 1 box of pencils and 1 box of pens for the full year.
My boys can even share that one box, they never use the full pack for the full year. Definitely not one box for each teacher request. And my boys definitely don’t need to be carrying around 7 black pens all day long. One or two is sufficient.
Get one quality pencil pouch for each kid and put in the common items that all teachers require such as pencils, pens, scissors, the math level specified calculator, highlighter, colored pencils, ruler, etc. Then have your child simply carry that same pouch to each and every class.
Now no matter what class they are in, they have what they need. And you don’t have to buy duplicates of items. They may change their books and maybe binder between classes, but they know to always grab that pencil pouch and they will always be prepared with that they need for that teacher.
That means, I only need to buy ONE binder per child. A few dividers, folders for the subjects that need it, loose binder paper, a notebook for the classes that require it to be added to the binder, etc.
Once you know what you can get away with NOT having, cross those items off your list. Now you should be left with only the items and quantities that you WILL need on your list.
4: Go through supplies at Home before shopping.
Sometimes I will have leftover school supplies from the year before because my kids didn’t need as much as I expected through the year.
So always go through your leftover supplies from the year before and take stock of what can be reused for the next year before shopping for new.
Set aside in individual piles per child what you already have in stock at home. Cross off each item on the list as you add it to each child’s pile.
5: Buy Quality Five Star products!
This last step is just as crucial as all the others, maybe even more so. Always be sure to buy the best quality school supplies, such as Five Star. Buying products that last ensures you don’t have to go shopping again!
As I said earlier, I seriously HATE school supply shopping. So I want to get in and out, the faster the better. That means I also want the best quality product that will last the longest so I don’t have to go back 2 weeks later when the first folder rips apart.
No thank you! I want to keep this school supply nightmare down to just ONCE a year thank you.
So that is why I alway reach for Five Star products whenever possible. It is a brand I know and trust from my many years as a student in grade schools and even college to be durable and long lasting year after year.
This year I am very excited about some of the Five Star products hitting the shelves that will make it really easy to get my boys supplied for back to school and ready to start Jr High!
Not only that, but some of the Five Star Products are really going to make it so I don’t have to buy as many school supplies either because they make it easy to double up classroom subjects with the same products!
Like the Five Star 1.5″ Binder with easy access. My oldest is super excited for this one!
He wanted one last year, but seeing as he was my first in Jr High, I didn’t realize I could double up subjects in the same binder. But now I know, and he is going to be sporting this awesome binder to host multiple subjects and he couldn’t be more excited!
It’s guaranteed to last the full year. Plus it has built in folders to help organize hand out papers for various subjects, a spot to add additional paper, notebook, and I even added in the Five Star Snap in Bookmark Dividers to help organize his various subjects.
Not to mention the super easy access opening, that is extra quiet unlike the velcro or snap closures I had as a kid. So he can easily access anything he needs during class without disrupting the flow.
For my other Jr High boy, he’s pretty excited about the expandable binder.
It is easy to lay completely flat just like a book. It is lightweight and easily expands as you need. With the additional snap in Bookmark Dividers and tabbed pocket dividers, he can easily organize to hold them all in the one binder.
And did you know that Five Star makes backpacks? I didn’t! That is something new I just learned this year, and I wish I had known years ago!
Their backpacks are sturdy, durable and comfortable, but also designed with function in mind. They also come with a limited lifetime guarantee! Yet again, another product to last year after year! No more replacing the backpack each year!
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What are your best ways to save money on school supplies?
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