Back to School on a Budget


Back to School

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been literally INUNDATED with Back to School ads lately! They’re everywhere! The first time I saw one, I was really irritated because it was barely July 1st, and I was determined to enjoy my summer! Now that it’s one week away, my inner cheapskate frugal-focused heart is starting to get panicky.

Last year was the first year I had to deal with a school supplies list, as my oldest was just going to Kindergarten. I knew there were super sales as the time, but I didn’t care. I was enjoying myself too much to worry about being a scrooge (or at least that’s what I told myself, I really just waited too long). So I went out and got those 8-10 items and never looked back.

I just pulled up the supplies list for this year, and HOLY COW, Batman! There are like 30 items on some of these lists! And I’m seriously thinking to myself: “Why on earth do parents have to buy COPY PAPER?” We have a long way to go in our educational funding in this country. There’s a problem when schools don’t have the money for this stuff. But alas, that’s a rant for another day…

So anyway, if you’re like me, you’re looking for some serious deals because this will not be cheap. I know this past weekend was the big weekend for shopping, since it was tax-free, but for those of us who still have a few things to get, here are some of the ways I save on school supplies:

Staples rebates and discounts – if you need anything like printer ink, copy paper, or the like, this is the store. Make sure to sign up for their rewards program. We earn 5% cash back, in the form of a store credit, for everything we buy there. We also recycle ink cartridges for $2 each (sometimes they have a special and it’s $4 or $6). They frequently have items that are free after rebate (their rebates are super easy), and they take manufacturer coupons. They currently have a 110% price match guarantee too! I have been saving my rewards over the Summer just to get those school supplies.

Target and Cartwheel – Target has AWESOME back to school deals every year. Between some of the Sunday coupon inserts and some printables available right now, there are several items that are FREE at Target. And their Cartwheel app, while it takes a bit to get used to, really is pretty great.

Walmart – Walmart isn’t always the cheapest, but I have found that when it comes to school supplies, and you’ve waited until the last minute, they usually have it even when other stores are picked through or out.

Some other great sources for coupons/deals/info:

Sir Google – Google search for the product if you’re looking for something specific. Many times, companies have a coupon out to “entice” you to buy their product, and all you have to do is like their Facebook page or something. If you ever look at my Facebook profile, you would think that I spend way too much time liking companies, but it’s totally for the discount (or sweepstakes sometimes!).

Facebook groups – if you search “coupon” on Facebook, you will get a lot of hits. There are a ton of coupon groups, and if you find a local one, it will be the best help because you likely shop in the same places! This is the best place to learn how your favorite stores handle coupons, which cashiers to look for, and more. The best part: some of these groups get together for free “swaps,” where you can score coupons that other people won’t use and get rid of the ones you don’t want.

Coupon Katie – This lady is a local, and great at helping to find those deals specific to our region. She has a blog, and posts frequently. She also has a regular spot in the newspaper going over this week’s best deals.

On a side note, if you’re interested in learning more about couponing and local deals, I will be teaching two couponing workshops at the new Bearden Chick-Fil-A next week. For more info, feel free to email me: [email protected]

And are you ready for football season too? Because apparently even the bugs are gearing up! Look at this little guy!




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