While you’re enjoying the dog days of summer right now, in a few weeks, it’ll be time to get your kids ready to go back to school. One of the biggest things you’ll have to do before your kids’ first day back in class is shop for school supplies. If you’re dreading how much back-to-school shopping can cost you, you’re not alone. Each year, Americans spend nearly $80 billion buying school supplies at the end of summer; that amounts to nearly $700 spent per child on those school supplies.
However, there are ways to keep these school supply costs down and still have your kids fully equipped for that first day of class. One of the best ways to find affordable, high-quality school supplies is by looking in some unexpected places. In many cases, you may find some bargains on school supplies that would otherwise cost you a small fortune. Thus, if you want to keep your bank account intact at the end of this summer, here are some surprising spots to save on school supplies.
One of the best, most affordable places to find school supplies is at your local thrift stores. Many of them have big sales focused on back-to-school items at the end of the summer, and you can often find almost everything you need at heavily discounted prices. For example, many Goodwill stores will have rolling sales on items such as backpacks, children’s shoes, and the pens, pencils, notebooks, and paper that are staples of those back-to-school supply lists. So, go to your local Goodwill or another thrift store before you shop at any major retailer; chances are strong that you can get the same high-quality items at a thrift store at far lower prices.
Another way to save on school supplies is to head to your local craft store in late summer to hit the back-to-school sales. Craft store chains such as Michaels have a wide selection of supplies that students and teachers need, and they’re often on sale in July and August. If you time it right, you can get nearly all the school supplies you’ll need for the entire school year at Michaels or another arts and craft store. Best of all, you’ll have plenty of money left in your bank account!
Go Back to School Early
If you want to find basic school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pens, and pencils, you may want to check with your local school district in late summer. Some schools, as they’re getting ready for the new school year in July or August, do major cleanups. If you time it right, you may be able to go before the cleanup, or while it’s occurring, and pick up all the basic school supplies you’ll need for nothing at all. Call your school district or the administrative office of the school your kids attend to see if you can pick up some free school supplies before your kids go back to class.
Another great place to save on back-to-school supplies is on Amazon. Throughout the summer, Amazon typically offers terrific deals on back-to-school supplies, laptops, electronics, backpacks, clothes, and shoes. On Prime Day, Amazon’s big day of sales and discounts for Amazon Prime members, the online retail giant has a “Happy School Year” store specifically set up for back-to-school shoppers. Prime Day is more popular than ever to save on school supplies. In fact, the National Retail Federation found that more than half of American consumers planned to shop for back-to-school deals on Prime Day. If you missed the deals this year, make sure to mark your calendar for Prime Day in 2020!
Hit the Dollar Stores
If you’re looking to save on school supplies, especially smaller items that you expect your kids to go through quickly, it’s hard to go wrong with your local dollar store. Stores such as Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar are increasingly found in or near most communities in America these days, which is good for consumers when it comes to back-to-school savings. You can often find school supplies at dollar stores that are priced far below what larger outlets are offering. For example, you can purchase calculators for as little as $1 at Dollar General, and 50 cents will get you a pack of Crayola crayons at Family Dollar. So, make sure to visit the dollar store closest to you when it’s time to buy back-to-school supplies.
When it comes to great deals on school supplies, don’t forget to search online. Traditional sites such as eBay often have discounted back-to-school supply auctions, as well as eBay Stores that focus on selling school-related items. Similarly, classic websites such as Craigslist can be great places to look for back-to-school bargains. Whether you’re looking for things such as backpacks, laptops, or basic school supplies, Craigslist can get your kids fully equipped for school for pennies on the dollar.
Getting your kids ready for the new school year doesn’t have to put you in a financial bind. If you plan and check out some of the stores, websites, and other locations mentioned here, you can get all your kids’ school supplies at heavily discounted prices. In some cases, you may not pay anything at all for them. So, make a list of the school supplies your kids need and check out these places to start saving today.