Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Save Money on School Supplies

I have learned over the years many different ways to save money on school supplies.  Having four daughters you can just imagine how expensive it can be.  Maybe these tips can help you out. Enjoy!

At the end of the year teachers send home extra supplies that didn't get used and everything from the students desk they get to take home.  I empty all their backpacks and keep everything I know they will use again.  So here you can see we had plenty of left over pencils which came in handy. This year the teacher asked for 36 pencils for 4th graders which they share. Since I have twins this means I needed 74 pencils.  And can you believe it that I actually had that many? I did.  They are able to reuse scissors, calculators, pink erasers, pens, and pencil pouches. Woot! 

My next stop is to write down everything we didn't have at home onto a paper and head over to a thrift store.  Each of my twins needed a 1.5 inch binder and these easily can cost about $5 a piece.  I found 2 perfectly good binders for .99 cents and $1.99.  Saving myself  about $7 or so. Its recycling, its reusing and its saving me money. Woot!

Next after that we stopped by Office Max to get what I couldn't find at home or the thrift store.  4 folders at .25 cents each, 3 composition books on sale for $1 each, and pencil erasers for a penny a pack.  
We also needed spirals and it was a lesson for my girls in how to save $$.  My oldest was pointing out just to buy a pack of 10 for $3.50.  Yes a good price but we don't need 10 we just needed 4.  I was going to wait to buy these till I found a good price but I was lucky enough to see they were selling them single and a great price.  40 cents each! So instead of spending $3.50 I only spent $1.60.  Yes its a small amount of savings but its savings! 

Once I looked around and things were too pricey for other stuff I left and headed to Target which is in the same parking lot.  Tissue is always a must and only $1.39.  Sharpies were $1.99 (unlike Office Max which were $1.79 each!). Glue sticks .39 cents each, crayons .50 cents each (Office Max $1 each) and colored pencils .99 cents each.  
My girls have eczema so they cannot use any antibacterial hand sanitizer because they break out in a rash and itch.  Last year the school wanted hand liquid but I talked to the teacher and explained our issues.  I ended up buying toxic free hand soap for the whole class and replaced it anytime it ran out.  This year they want wipes and even the "green" ones have some not so good ingredients.  So I headed on over to the baby section and found these Seventh Generation wipes that will work just as well as the ones they wanted us to buy.  They were $2.49 which is around the same price as the mainstream bleach kinds.  

And here is what I came up with.  Everything the school list ask for but at a big price savings.

Tissue- $1.39
Composition books-$3
Spiral Notebooks-.80
Glue sticks-.39
Colored Pencils-.99
Binders-.$1.50 (different prices so I made it even)
4 Sharpies- .99 (2 we had & were free)
Pencils-FREE from last year
Pink erasers-FREE from last year
Scissors-FREE from last year
Calculator-FREE from last year
Zipper Pouch-FREE used ones we found
Ball Point Pens-FREE we had them

Total $13.06

Could of cost us this much more
Average prices I saw today

Pencils would easily cost us $6
2 Sharpies-$1.99
Zipper Pouch-$3
Ball Point Pens-.99
New Binder-$4.99

Total $23.95
Add the total above and your looking at $37.04 for one kid.
That's $74.02 for my twins. YOWZERS!

For my older girls who are in middle and high school we don't have to buy anything just yet.  They do have a suggested list on their school website but honestly they never use any of those items so we don't buy them.  We instead wait till they go to school the first couple of days and my girls ask what they specifically need for the class and then we buy those items.

Lets not forget this doesn't even include backpacks, lunches, clothes and shoes.  For us we reuse our backpacks and lunch boxes each year.  I buy fabric that's good quality so I know it will last many years.

So how do you save money on school supplies? Share in the comments below and lets inspire each other!


Green Bean said...

We hit the thrift store every year. Some times, I even hit it in June when people are turning in their "old" school supplies and load up on the fancy binders with compartments and zippers than my oldest is into.

Like you, we also invest in high quality lunch boxes and backpacks and are usually able to reuse year after year.

Betsy Escandon said...

Love the idea of shopping at the thrift store for school supplies!

Cattis said...

I live in Sweden and here all children get the school supplies for "free" in school. But on the other hand we pay A LOT of taxes here for the school to be free. Of course we have to pay for backpacks - instead of buying a pink barbie-bag for my daughter I got a pink one with white dots and leather underneath- she can were this backpack for ever, it will never go out of style. We´re really lucky to get bags of clothes from another familly with older kids that my kids can chose from. They think it´s great to get new (to them) clothes, and I´m happy as long as I get them for free. We have really good thriftshops around here to.