How to Save Money on Your School Supply List
School Supplies Can Get Expensive!
Top Three Ways to Save Money on School Supplies
- Coupons and Back to School Sales
- Rebates and In Store Rewards
- Recycling Ink
Our back to school supply lists are arriving. Many schools provide programs with prepackaged school supply packs keeping back to school shopping simple. At our children’s school the program costs:
- $50 per student grades one through eight
- $30 per student in Kindergarten
This year I have two children in 2nd grade and two children in Kindergarten. This service would cost me one-hundred sixty dollars and did not include paper towels and tissues which were on the list as well.
I had to find a way to save money shopping for school supplies.
Back to School Shopping
Last year I was able to get many free or cheap school supplies by paying attention to coupons and the back to school sales flyers. I have the most success at Target by utilizing their online coupons listed under Stationery and Holiday. Additionally, I keep my eye out for the $1 off any $3 or more Up and Up item (a Target brand) coupon. Target carries reams of paper and binders under their Up and Up Brand.
Walgreens is an excellent way to save money as well. In late July and early August, Walgreens has weekly in store coupons highlighting back to school items starting. Each week, I go in and only purchase those specials.
Consider paying attention to the school supply list for future grades as well. There is no guarantee that the exact same sale will be around next year. Additionally, there were a couple of times this year when my kids lost a supply, the class was low, or we needed to do a project at home. I always have extra, inexpensive supplies on hand.
How do you purchase your back to school supplies?
Use Rebates and In Store Rewards
Many office supply stores advertise back to school savings along with rebates or in store rewards. If you are disciplined enough to fill out the rebate forms and send them in, rebates are great ways to save on supplies. Additionally, stores such as Staples, Office Depot and Office Max offer in store rewards if you use your frequent shopper card.
For example, purchase a backpack for $29.99 in July and receive $29.99 in rewards available in your account mid-August. Rewards also require a level of discipline. Understand if you will use the dollars on other items in the future and pay attention to expiration dates on the rewards certificates.
Recycle Ink Cartridges
Recycle Ink to Save Money
This year I am trying a new way to save money on school supplies by recycling ink. Staples, Office Max and Office Depot each have ink and toner recycling programs which work in conjunction with in store rewards.
Check the program specifications for each store prior to recycling ink. Currently each of the three stores credits your account two dollars for each empty ink cartridge recycled with a maximum of ten cartridges per month. When I asked what ink cartridges were accepted, I was told that they must be in good repair and fit in a printer. Toner is accepted as well.
I found two empty ink cartridges last month and turned them into Staples. This month I had four dollars to spend in the store. This was simple and I needed to figure out how to get more empty ink cartridges without buying more full ones!
My friend and I purchased five-hundred empty ink cartridges on eBay for eighty dollars. By splitting the cost I became the proud owner of two hundred fifty cartridges for forty dollars. This month I have recycled ten cartridges at Staples and ten cartridges at Office Max. My account is credited twenty dollars per store and I have already recouped my investment. Now I have two hundred ten cartridges that I will continue recycle at a rate of ten cartridges per month, earning twenty dollars per store per month. My forty dollar investment results in earning an additional four hundred twenty dollars.
My intention is to use this as my back to school and office supply fund. Not only am I recycling and keeping empty ink cartridges out of the landfill, I am saving money.
Sample Back to School Supply List
Back to School Supply List
Large Tissue box
Pack #2 Sharpened Pencils
Pair headphones in large ziplock bag
Spiral bound wide rule notebooks (70ct)
Box Crayola Crayons (24ct)
Crayola Broad Classic Markers (10ct)
Eraser, Pink Pearl
Folders: 2 pocket/plastic
Full size book bag
Small Glue Sticks
Sturdy School/Pencil Box (8x5)
Getting Those School Supply Lists Ready
This year I am looking at grades K-3 on the supply list. Looks like I will only need twenty-four glue sticks for my Kindergarteners. I am expecting some amazing projects coming home! I am going try my best to get them for free or cheap at the grocery store, drug store or Target. But if I can’t find a great deal, I am using my in store rewards from my ink recycling at my local office supply store.
I am curious how much supplies will cost us this year.
I GUARANTEE it will not be one hundred sixty dollars!