Monday, August 1, 2011

Books,Paper, and Supplies, Oh My!

It's that time of the year again! Back-to-School Savings abound as schools (both public and homeschools) prepare for the new year. Hopefully, you've been out taking advantage of some of the savings. If not (or even if you have), here are a few tips for getting through the hectic time of thrifty organization!

--First things first, you can't bring in the new without getting rid of the old. Go through all your supplies, books, etc to decide what you need to throw away or get rid of. The key to staying organized is to avoid clutter. So, get rid of things first to avoid the "I'll go through it all later" syndrome. Besides you can't know what you need if you don't know what you have.

--Now that you know what you need--make a list. A thorough list. It helps to go over the YEARLY plan for your curriculum. You need to buy supplies now before the prices skyrocket again. For instance: Crayola crayons now: 25 cents/box of 24; same crayons later: $1.49. Yep. That's a huge difference. Crayons alone I bought 20. I know my girls can each go through a box of crayons in 4-6 weeks depending on how much they get used.

--Sign up for the teacher's rewards cards. Places like Staples, Office Max, Office Depot have rewards cards which give you a percentage off of your purchases. Plus they host special teacher appreciation days with extra discounts! In case you are wondering--YES, you are a teacher!

--Hold out for good deals. Most places offer different deals on different weeks. Notebooks might seem like a good deal at 1 dollar this week, but next week they may be 50 cents. Also, some places have extreme deals during certain weeks (used to draw you in and buy THEIR stuff). For instance, at Office Max last week, you could get a 24-pk of the pencil top erasers for ONE CENT; this week you can get rulers and 16-pks of crayons for ONE CENT. If you miss the deals this year, see if you can keep track so you'll know what to be on the look out for for next year.

--Although it can be tempting to buy enough 50 cent notebooks to last until your child graduates from college because they're a good deal--don't. Trust me, the sales will be back next year. If you overload now, you'll only add unnecessary clutter, not to mention they extra money could be used to go toward something else.

--Plan ahead to save for bigger purchases. One of the things we bought this year was a new computer tower. The desktop that we had is like 10 years old (hubby and I have moved on to the more portable laptops now that we have kids and can't "sit in the office"). So, we decided we needed a desktop specifically for homeschool use (well, ok, and my pictures too). We knew there would be some good back-to-school deals, so we started saving a few months ago. Today, we found our treasure!

Most of all, relax and enjoy the experience. I had so much fun the last three times I went out shopping for school supplies. Walmart was a little crazy, but Office Max and Toys-R-Us were a blast for the whole family! The girls were excited to help pick out stuff like what kind of stickers to put at the tops of their papers and their charts. I had to drag hubby out of the science department at Toys-R-us before he decided to buy out the section with experiments/toys that were way above the girls' heads. We even headed to Borders (which is going out of business in case you hadn't heard), and stocked up on some of their workbooks--just for fun, or for days when I'm too sick to teach. Review is always good on days like that.

Enjoy your back-to-school deals!
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