I know it might feel like your kids just got out of school – this certainly feels like the case for me – but the truth is, I’m starting to see back to school supply deals pop up already. The good news is, it’s been my experience that the good deals continue throughout August, which means you can jump in whenever your budget and brain power allow!
I’m really excited about what I’ll be able to offer you in terms of back to school supply deal reporting this year and I thought I’d take a few minutes to bring you up to speed.
- More stores. This year, I’m back to teaming up with bloggers from around the country to offer you a very helpful weekly round-up of the best school supply deals happening at nationally-based chains such as Staples, Office Depot/Max, Target, Rite Aid, Walmart and more. This tool gives you ONE document that compiles ALL the deals for the week, which means you won’t have to wade through multiple posts or store ads. I published the first of these round-ups on Monday and you can expect to find the post updated every Monday through August 21st.
- Target. I will be contributing Target deals towards the blogger collaboration. This means you can expect to find a detailed post no later than each Sunday morning on my blog.
- Fred Meyer. This is the store I’m most familiar with and do my own shopping at. In addition to reporting on weekly advertised deals, I’ll be sharing unadvertised deals, as well as tips for saving even more money. I will have the first post up today or tomorrow (7/13 – 7/14) and then, look for the weekly updates each Monday morning.
- Amazon. For my online shoppers, we’ll be doing a weekly round-up of top Amazon deals each Tuesday. (We just published the first one today – check it out!)
- Highlighted deals. We will be keeping our eyes out for top deals happening at other stores and do our best to alert you of those as we spot them.
Whenever you’re ready to do your school shopping, just head to the blog and click on the Back to School Central button in the right hand sidebar (or the one below on this post):
It will direct you to all the posts above and more.
Back to School Shopping Tips
I wanted to give you some general tips for saving money on school supplies this year.
- If you want to wait until August – you’ll be OK! In the early years of my blog, I used to advocate shopping earlier for the best deals. However, after reviewing several years’ of store prices and trends, I’ve changed my tune. Expect good prices clear through August.
- Sometimes, it’s worth paying a bit more for name brands. It’s very common to see the generic brands fall to super cheap prices. However, in my experience the name brands may hold up a bit better and give you more for your money. (For instance, I will gladly pay $0.25 more for a pack of Crayola crayons.)
- Read the fine print of sales carefully. Some stores have “penny” type sales where you can get select school supplies for cheap. But, make sure you’ve read the fine print carefully. In some situations, there may be a minimum purchase required in order to take advantage (e.g., “$5-10 minimum purchase”). Additionally, sometimes there may be a limit of how many items you can purchase.
- Watch stores that allow you to stack store, manufacturer coupons and rebate/mobile offers. Target usually puts out some pretty solid store coupons and Cartwheel offers that you can use with manufacturer’s coupons. Fred Meyer sometimes will put out extra bonus and store coupons that will save you 10-20% extra on school supplies. And don’t forget the drugstores – Walgreens and Rite Aid are sometimes surprisingly good options for saving money on school supplies.
- Pick up extras! I *always* pick up extra school and office supplies during the year because they are going to be at their lowest prices. I store some of these out in my garage. A couple days ago, my son needed a journal for camp. I was glad to whip out a composition book I’d paid $0.50 for last school supply season! This is also a good time to stock up your home office or to pick up small items to give to toy and holiday drives later this year.
I also expect we’ll see manufacturer’s coupons released soon. The best sources to find these are Sunday newspaper inserts, Coupons.com, and occasionally – on the manufacturer’s Facebook and websites.
Back-to-School Stock-up Prices
I wanted to provide you with some price points from prior years to give you an idea of what I expect we might find for 2016. Click the image below to see a bigger version:
The 2014 and 2015 prices come from the prior years’ collaborations headed by Pocket Your Dollars. These prices come from a wide variety of stores and we may or may not be able to match or beat them in 2016. I’ve provided stock-up prices for 2016 above based on those prior year lows as well as what I reasonably think we can look for this year.
Now it’s your turn: I’d love to know your thoughts about back to school shopping! What kind of deals can we help you find? Any other ideas for me & my team as we set out to report on deals for Fred Meyer, Target, and Amazon this year? Sound off in the comments below!