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10 Tips to SAVE on School Supplies

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10 Tips to SAVE on School Supplies by Hip2Save.com

Written by Hip2Save and originally published as a Guest Post on The Schoola Blog

With Back to School just weeks away, now is the time to snag some great deals on school supplies! Here are TEN tips to limit your out of pocket expenses and to maximize your savings…

Check Your Office/Closet/Pantry
You may be surprised to find that you can cross quite a few items off your school supply list simply by looking through your office drawers, pantry etc.

Shop Early for the Best Deals
The office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot/OfficeMax start rolling out their Back to School sales in early July. Check Hip2Save.com every week for all the best deals at these stores and be sure to shop the sales earlier in the week (preferably Sunday or Monday) as popular items tend to sell out quickly.

Price Match Whenever Possible
Staples, OfficeDepot/OfficeMax, Walmart and Target all offer a Price Match Guarantee Policy. If you find a lower price on a new identical item, just show the cashier the lower price when you buy the item and they’ll match the price. This can save you quite a bit of time and money since you’re not driving from store to store every week.

In fact, Staples is offering up a Back to School 110% Price Match Guarantee through September 19th, 2015. This means that Staples will price match items sold and shipped by Amazon.com or any retailer who sells products in both retail stores and online under the same brand. Not only will you receive a price match but you will receive an additional 10% off the difference between the Staples price and the competitor price.

Keep it Simple
Although your kiddos may navigate towards the glitter scissors or the Disney-themed folders, the most budget-friendly supplies are typically those without all the bells and whistles. However, you can easily add some pizazz to standard supplies – as one example, dress up a clear pencil case with temporary tattoos!

Purchase Items with Warranties
If you are in the market for a new backpack or heavy-duty binder, look for items that offer warranties. For example, Jansport Backpacks have a Lifetime Guarantee – if your pack ever breaks down, simply return it to their warranty center and they will either fix it, replace it or refund it! And Mead offers a one-year Five Star Notebook Guarantee.

Be Social
If you plan to purchase certain brands of items (like Crayola, Mead or BIC), be sure to follow their social media pages for access to possible coupons, special offers and more.

Find a Shopping Buddy
Shopping with another parent (or a few other parents) allows you to buy items in bulk that may be greatly discounted – like a case of 10 reams of paper at Staples or a 100 pack of pens at Costco – and then split the cost amongst all of you.

Buying in Bulk is Not Always Better
Pay attention to the price per item/unit. As an example, see the different packages of Elmer’s glue sticks pictured above – a 6 count package of glue sticks sells for $1.97 (33¢ each), a 2 count package of glue sticks for 50¢ (25¢ each), and single jumbo glue sticks 4/$1 (25¢ each for jumbo size). Clearly, the single glue stick is the best deal but many shoppers assume the bigger 6-count package is a better buy!

Shop Your Local Dollar Store
Dollar Stores offer a wide variety of arts & crafts (crayons, paints, glue, poster board) and school supplies throughout the year. Keep in mind that some of the items sold at dollar stores are not the greatest quality and so they may not last as long as name-brand items sold elsewhere.

Check your Calendar
If you are lucky enough to live in an area that offers Tax Free Shopping Days, plan your Back to School shopping during these days! Depending on your state, you may be able to avoid paying tax on clothing, computers, school supplies and books!


Looking to save on clothes for Back To School? Be sure to check out Schoola.com where you’ll find a wide variety of gently-used clothing for boys, girls, juniors and women. In addition, Schoola offers all new members a FREE $15 credit whenever you sign up for a new account through this link AND you can also earn a FREE $10 credit for simply creating a custom collection (takes 2 minutes or less)!


Bryn has 10 years' experience writing about coupons, freebies & deals. She is mortgage-free and has a Bachelors in Nursing & Education. Connect with Bryn on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 20

  1. Yoli

    Thank you and your team for all that you do.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO welcome! 🙂

  2. Shirin

    Thanks a ton for all of these awsome ideas.it really helped me deciding what to buy and where to buy from.thanks a lot for your effort.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re sure welcome!

  3. Emeraldlily

    Currently in my local area Kroger has a $5 off $20 school supplies coupon to load to the card. It expires on 8/2. I took the print out school supply list to Wal-mart then wrote the prices on it. Went to kroger and bought the items that were currently cheaper (they have a sale until 8/14 locally).
    Keep in mind many states also have tax free school supplies days. Which varies by state but I will post the link below:
    http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html

    Get what is on sale while it is on sale but if you don’t find a good sale on something then get it during tax free days!

    • Emeraldlily

      Just an idea… 4pk Dry Erase Markers (which all 3 of my boys needed on their supplies list) was $2.99 at Kroger and $4.67 at Wal-mart. I got 2 2″ binders with clear sleves on the outside for $5.99 compared to Wal-Marts 7.42. Highlighters were $1.42 a 6pk vs $1.97 a 4pk and Ticonderoga wood #2 Pencils (required by schools here) were $2.47 a 24pk vs $4.97 a 24 pk at wal-mart.. I also find small differences for Filler paper, Index cards, glue sticks, and 2pk sharpies. Crayola Crayons were .50 at both stores but a temp sale.

      I live in a small town and so my only local options are Kroger and Wal-Mart. There may be better deals in other big box stores like Target. However, $5 of $20 if available to you is a good deal if there are minor differences or cheaper prices at Kroger.

  4. Sammie

    May I asking does someone know ,where I can get cheaper primary composition book 100 sheet for my girl kindergarten supply? I don’t see any where on sale,thank you.

    • Allie

      I bought a couple at Office Depot for $2.00 yesterday. Not sure if it is the best price but didnt want to drive all over town when it was in stock and had a variety of cute colors for girls 🙂

    • Brittany

      My local Dollar Tree has them in a sorts of colors.

      • Brittany

        *all, not a-sorry!

    • Deb

      Walmart in NE Ohio had them at 50 cents today. YMMV

      • Sammie

        Wow,it was great deal 50cents,I will go checkout today,thank you.

  5. Brittany

    Don’t forget you can buy in bulk from the Dollar Tree online!😉

  6. Jeanette

    I needed to buy my daughter a new backpack this year. Thank you so much for your opinion. I love your website/app!!

  7. visitor3

    I was surprised when I got my child’s school shopping list. The list asks families not only to buy items for the entire class, but states very specific brands ie the more expensive name brands. How essential is this? Is there any wiggle room? Or do you just buy what your family would ordinarily buy. If it’s good enough for us, why isn’t it good enough for the whole class? Also if school supplies are used by all the children, don’t the germs spread much faster?

    As a child, I had to keep track of my own little box of supplies and make them last all year, which seemed to be a very good lesson in responsibility and thrift.

    I imagine that key factors include schools having no budget for supplies, teachers buying out of their own pockets, and some children with less means (or less organized parents) showing up the first day of school with no supplies of their own, all of which is most unfortunate.

    Anyone else dealing with this?

    • MommySpendsLess

      Teachers specify certain brands because they either work better and/or the supplies are all the same to prevent squabbling. I’m not a teacher and I’ve noticed differences between Crayola and RoseArt crayons, Swingline vs. discount staplers, etc. In my daughter’s class I think each child had their own crayons but other items (glue, scissors,etc.) were kept in small buckets. A bucket was brought from the storage shelf to each table when they needed that item. I’m from the individual desk/own supplies era too (I’m only 32). I think the difference may be the focus on equality and teamwork. The children sit at group tables (at least in the lower grades) so there isn’t really a way to put things away in a desk anymore. If everybody is sharing the same pool of supplies, nobody’s is different or better. It may be practical too – the teacher doesn’t have to worry about something being lost/missing/broken/run out at craft time – they can more easily monitor and replace/swap out the supplies in the group bins. I bought everything in my daughter’s list for kindergarten only to discover during the open house (held a week or two before school started) that her teacher didn’t really want/need all of it. I think this year I’m going to buy the basics ahead of time. I’ll probably wait to purchase unusual/specific items until after the open house.

    • Emeraldlily

      I know they request certain brands of Pencil because they make the school sharpeners last longer.

  8. MrsLach

    I volunteer quite often at my children’s school and I must say, there is a difference in quality amongst different brands depending on the item. Brand name #2 pencils are a must! I know because I’ve sharpened hundreds of them over the course of the school year. The cheapos break!!! Crayola crayons are far superior than other brands, and they’re on sale for 50cents-59cents this time of year. Try sharpening them… There’s a difference!

    As for other things like folders, composition notebooks, scissors, printer paper, it doesn’t matter much. Fiskars, wescotts, all work the same, go with whichever one’s cheaper (or free!).

  9. Bea

    I suggest buying a few extra glue sticks, pencils and crayons when they are on sale. Our school tends to send notes in the middle of the year that they are running low on supplies. I hate having to pay full price in January

  10. Chandra Claybon

    I loved your tips. And would also like to give an additional tip: Always check your local drugstores, grocery stores and thrift stores. In my area during back to school time they always have t-shirts and polo shirts as well as they always have a featured item of the week and it is normally a basic school supply. Our thrift stores always have new t-shirts and polos that are donated by companies after picnics and marathons. I also buy things I think they may use. My kids are in high school and get a standard grade level supply list mailed with there report card. Within the first couple of weeks of school they bring home 5-7 different supply list one from each teacher. It can get expensive on larger ticket items like scientific or graphing calculators, flash drives and gym clothes plus agendas and items that can only be purchased at the school.

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