Best Prices for Back to School Supplies and 2013 Shopping Tips

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Can you believe it’s already that time of year to be thinking about school supplies again? If you’re not *there* yet, I get it. Just bookmark this post for later when you’re ready to think about back to school!

As with last year, I wanted to provide you with a post outlining some tips for saving some serious cash on back to school supplies as well as a great download you can use to pinpoint the best prices.

Best Prices for School Supplies: FREE Download

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I decided to spend some time digging through the last several years’ worth of school supply deals and posts to provide you with a FREE one-page printable you can use to help identify the best prices for school supplies. So here it is:

Best School Supplies Prices 2013 (pdf)

You are welcome to print, use, and share it with others. I just ask it remain for Personal Use Only.

School Supply Trends and Thoughts

Here are some general trends about school supply shopping to consider as your shopping this year.

  • The best supplies actually happen in August. Contrary to what some bloggers may tell you, I would argue the best supply sales happen in August, not July. This is from going through dozens of my back to school posts over a few years and nailing down what went on sale and when. While the sales and coupons will definitely start to trickle in during early-mid July, you are absolutely NOT going to be late to the game if you decide to do nothing in July. 
  • Better brands may be worth the extra cost. In my experience, I’d rather pay $0.50 for a 24-pack of Crayola crayons vs. $0.25 for a 24-pack of a generic brand. You’re still getting a great deal, and sometimes the name brands hold up a bit better.
  • Pay attention to penny-sales. Some of the office stores may offer select supplies for a penny apiece, but do read the fine print! Sometimes a minimum $5 or $10 purchase is required. If you weren’t planning on purchasing anything else at the store, your “penny” items just got spendy.
  • Pay attention to Target – with coupons. I would start keeping an eye on Target printable coupons as well as manufacturer’s coupons. In the past, we’ve seen a number of free and very cheap deals thanks to the coupons + low costs.
  • Watch Fred Meyer! I end up doing the majority of my shopping at Fred Meyer because I do the bulk of my grocery shopping there, anyways. Pay attention to the “good through” dates on the bottom of the sales tags. In many cases, some of the low and even “priceblaster” prices will extend beyond the sales week. Fred Meyer displays are also an excellent source of tearpad coupons!100_4604 (800x450)
  • Don’t fret over a few pennies. You’re going to see a lot of deals and a lot of low prices this summer! If you picked up composition notebooks for $0.50 and then the next week you see them for $0.25, try not to fret too bad. It’s going to be difficult (if not impossible!) to predict the lowest price each item is going to get. So long as you’re working to hit the target prices (see the printable above!), just relax! You got a good deal!

Can I add a final thought here? Don’t write off these sales if you don’t have kids going into school! This is the best time of year to stock up your home office with copy paper, paper clips, pens, and pencils. It’s also an awesome opportunity to help our communities! Remember there are many teachers and kids that would appreciate your generosity. Check with your local food bank or United Way chapter to learn more about where you can donate extra supplies. You could also consider picking up extras and saving for stocking stuffers or maybe for a great program such as Operation Christmas Child.

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In the next week or so, I’ll start reporting on the best deals I’m finding for a variety of stores in my area. Last year, I opted to put out ONE weekly post rounding up the best deals happening at all the stores versus one post per store per week. This is personally how I would like to receive the deals if I were a reader of my blog versus wading through lots of posts. I got a lot of great feedback and at this point, that’s how I’m planning on reporting the deals for the 2013 season.

Of course, your additional feedback is always welcome!

So how are you feeling about Back to School? Ready to think about it – or not at all?


Comments

  1. Anne says

    I would be groaning if I were still teaching but I left teaching (at least for a while) to stay home this June. I’m excited to shop those sales, not for supplies for my own classroom, but to donate to others.

    Thanks ESPECIALLY for the price list!

  2. Kimberly says

    My favorite is when all the school supplies go on clearance at Target. I’ve gotten rulers for 10 cents, packs of pens for 17 cents…. Love it. :)

  3. SarahL says

    Hi! I love this pdf about the best prices! But I do have a question. With items such as the glue sticks, how many in a package are you talking about? Or is it .50 per glue stick- no matter how many in a package?

  4. Leslie says

    Thank you for sharing the best prices! I’m donating school supplies and noticed that calculators are requested. What type of calculator is preferred, and does anyone have a best price starting point? Thanks!

  5. Daisha says

    I am a teacher and a mother so, I am always shopping for the best deals… I agree with you…your best price list is spot on! I also agree with you that August is the best time to pick up supplies and I love it when stores clearance supplies…I Love to save money and I Love a good deal… Thanks again
    Teachers don’t forget to ask stores if they provide an additional discount for teachers… most stores do!
    Happy Shopping and have a great school year!

  6. says

    Great, informative post! I am feeling the back to school panic set in and I feel much better after reading your school supply shopping tips and tricks. Thanks!

  7. says

    Just wanted to share re: Target coupons (sorry if this is repeat info) that they are refusing printed manufacturer coupons. They’ll accept coupons printed from Target.com but I was told that coupons.com coupons would not be accepted because they had “no way to verify” if they were real. This happened to me about two weeks ago – I had a coupon for sunscreen and they handed it back to me and said they would not honor it but did take the sunscreen coupon I’d printed from the Target website.

    My daughter starts kindergarten next month but my sister in law is a teacher and she agrees about getting the better crayons, etc. – she even knows which pencils will serve students best from years of experience. Still nice to try to save on the brands you want though. Thank you for this post!

  8. Meladee says

    Today I got two FREE Bic Atlantis 4-pk retractable Ball Pen metal clip, rubber grip pens at WAGS on Hoyt Rd., though I would imagine it would be all WAGS. It had a price tag by it, saying it was on sale for .99. I used two $1/1 Q’s from 8-4-12 SS that they price adjusted down to .99 each.

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