Cut back-to-school costs with these thrifty tricks


As a kid I loved back-to-school shopping. A new pair of kicks, a cozy white cardigan, and a backpack stuffed full of fresh school supplies were my reward for crossing the finish line of summer.

Today, the high cost of back-to-school gear makes me want to quit the race. Have you seen the long supply lists schools give kids today? I need a degree in scholastics just to source everything out.

back to school shopping

Here’s a Grade Six list sent to me by a friend:

back to school list

The saddest thing on this list is the requirement for unscented felt pens. What’s the use of being in grade six if you can’t have smelly markers? I digress.

Missing from this list are the electronic gadgets many kids carry these days, such as iPads and cell phones. And unless your kid attends class naked, you’ve got to budget for shoes, clothing, and gym gear too.

The average parent with kids in grades K-12 spends $688 on supplies, clothing, and electronics for the new school year. The National Retail Federation compiled this widely reported stat, failing to break down the cost per kid. But you get the idea — shopping for back-to-school ain’t cheap. In fact, the September school rush represents one of the top spending sprees of the year, second only to Christmas.

Discounts22 Ways to get a discount on anything

The art of snagging serious savings and uncovering hidden discounts isn’t hard to master. Check out: Part One: 22 Ways to get a discount on anything for the cost-cutting tricks.

To help you cut costs this school year, I asked a number of parents and teachers to share their top tips for stretching their school budget. I also wracked my own brain (yep, I’ve got one) to find ways to save. Here are 12 thrifty tricks for beating the steep price of sending the kids back to school.

How to save on school supplies.

Binders, books, and scent-free markers oh my! Your total school supplies tab could reach $95 if your kid is in grades K-12 says The National Retail Federation. Here’s how to cut the school supplies cost:

1. Do a home inventory.

Take a look around your home before hitting the stores — chances are you already own a few of the school essentials and can save big money by not duplicating these items.

back to school checklist
Homework Download: Tally your old supplies to prevent costly duplication.

That’s what teacher and parent Brandi Scraper recommends. “I always save my children’s pencil boxes and Fiskar scissors for the following year,” she writes on Facebook. “After accumulating about six pairs of scissors around the house, I realized there was no reason why those couldn’t be taken back to school the next year.”

2. Get the school list.

Many schools send parents a list of mandatory school supplies in August. Parent Mia Lee doesn’t shop until she knows which supplies are required for the school year.

“I remember one year I stocked up on crayons and wide ruled paper because it was on sale, however, my son’s list didn’t ask for crayons, and he really needed college ruled paper. I save money by only buying what he needs,” writes Lee via Facebook.

3. Score loss-leaders.

Office supply and department stores want your back-to-school dollars, and often sell school supplies at a loss to get you in the store. Scoring loss-leaders for pennies per crayon and pencil, a buck a notebook, and a quarter or two per binder is a deal that cuts costs significantly. The trick is scooping up these bargains without being enticed to spend on non-sale items.

Patience is also a virtue — stores won’t loss-leader everything at once, so you have to watch weekly flyers and may need to make multiple trips to stock your shelves.

4. Use coupons, price match.

See an item advertised for less either online or in a competitor’s flyer? The solution to saving is simple — save the advertisement and price match.

22 Ways to get a discount on anything22 Ways to get a discount on anything

Check out tip #20 in Part Three: 22 Ways to get a discount on anything for the coupon-clipping details and coupon expert links.

Combining coupons at price-match friendly stores (like Walmart and London Drugs) can net you deep discounts on your purchase.

5. Buy in bulk.

Buying your school supplies at big-box and warehouse stores like Costco can save you 25% over buying pencils and paper in small quantities. By stocking up, you’ll have enough pens for your student to last well beyond the first semester — even if she loses them regularly.

6. Order stationery online.

Before setting foot in a brick-and-mortar store, browse your favorite retailer’s online shop to find the sales. Discounts of at least 10% can be had on both big-ticket items and basic stationary, and free shipping is often just a secret code away.

Get big savings with secret online coupons

Find free shipping and online promotional codes with these 8 Ways to to uncover online coupons.

10 Ways to score textbooks for less

Skip the college and university bookstores, kiddies. Here’s where to buy used textbooks and rent copies for cheap.

7. Purchase supplies from your teacher.

Many retailers give special discounts on school supplies to teachers. In some cases, they’re able to buy supplies in bulk and pass significant savings along to parents. Fiona Forshaw lives in a district with such a program — she pays her daughter’s teacher $35 in September for pencils and notebooks instead of spending $100 throughout the year at retailers like Walmart or Staples. “It’s really the best way,” she says.

Cut your kid’s clothing costs.

Back-to-school shoes and clothes run the average parent with kids in grades K-12 a total of $375 — that’s $246 for threads and $129 for kicks. I really wish that National Retail Federation survey broke down the actual costs per kid per grade, ’cause I have a hunch that parents of grade 12 students spend a lot more on clothing than those of your average kindergarten kid.

back to school

Regardless of the age of your student, here are my tips for cutting through the expense of avoiding classroom nudity.

8. Join a kids clothing swap group.

Whether you find a used kid gear group on Facebook or in a community church basement, it pays to watch the used online postings and join the weekend swap meetups to nab those $1 jeans, free shirts, and barely used runners to save big.

After seeing massive savings on my local Facebook kid swap group, I’m sold on buying gently used gear online from fellow parents for 95% off retail. Just watch for stains, wear, and smell. Sticking to brand name clothing is a win since the resell value is high if your kid doesn’t wear the threads bare.

Since the majority of gently used clothing is for kids under 10 years of age, it’s best to bank these savings in the early years before your child hits the teen decade and calls you out for being thrifty.

9. Don’t stock your kid’s closet in August.

Resist the urge to buy all your kid’s new clothing in August, when back-to-school ads strongly encourage you to spend. Sure, buy a few key pieces before school starts, but wait until late September and early October for the best clothing steals and deals. Here’s why:

  • ‘That’s not cool anymore!’ Kids want to be on trend, and waiting until after the first month of class can help your student develop a style they’ll stick with, saving you from spending on the wrong pair of jeans.
  • You’ll need fall gear. Retailers don’t discount fall clothing in the summer because it’s not fully in stock.
  • Retailers unlikely to discount. The pressure to spend on back-to-school shopping is second only to Christmas. Since parents face a faux September deadline, they are less likely to hunt for bargains, and retailers are least likely to cut a deal.
  • Celebrate back-to-school in October. The best clothing deals online and in-store can be found in October, when department stores and shops aim to catch your early holiday shopping eye. Kid’s jeans, sweaters, shoes, and dresses can be nabbed for over 50% off to clear the back-to-school shelves for the holiday blitz, plus you’ll save on your kid’s winter wardrobe during early Black Friday and Cyber Monday pre-season sales.

Not spending too much moolah on clothing in August or September can also help ease a tight budget which might be feeling stretched from spending on binders, electronics, and kids fall activities.

10. Dress for less online.

The mayhem of shopping with excited kids in a store crowded with someone else’s excited kids can be avoided (and meltdowns eschewed) by knowing your kid’s sizes and shopping online. Not only can you benefit from a greater selection, but you may find online coupons and discount codes that cut your clothing costs by at least 15%.

Buy refurbished electronics.

Gadgets are the new cool school tool. The National Retail Federation’s back-to-school study says “nearly six in 10 (59.6%) [of parents] will invest in some sort of electronic device” for their kids this school year, spending an average of $218 on devices.

Longtime readers of Squawkfox will know where I’m heading with this one …

11. Resist the urge to upgrade.

Of course your kid wants the newest digital thing in the stores (selling at full price) for showing off in September. Your kid is friends with “Britney” and “Brandon” after all, and those brats always have the bestest drool-worthy stuff.

Here’s the deal: Tell your kid she can have that new iThinger if she pays for it. Saving up for wanted items is a lesson well learned in school, and making kids prioritize spending earlier will serve them well into adulthood.

UpgradesDo you really need that upgrade?

Before pulling the trigger on that new device, maybe it’s time to stop and think.

Otherwise, encourage your tearful student to keep last year’s model and wait to upgrade to something shinier. Read Do you really need that upgrade? for the heated discussion on today’s upgrade culture.

12. Shop for refurbished devices.

That shiny nearly-new model can be had for 15% to 25% less by sourcing computers, iPads, iPods, and cell phones in the refurbished sections of online stores. Apple products, arguably the most popular brand with school kids, can be found refurbished by watchful parental eyes throughout the school year, so it pays to know the features your kid needs.

Discounts22 Ways to get a discount on anything

Check out tip #17 in Part Three: 22 Ways to get a discount on anything for the refurb tips, gotchas, and details.

Your Turn: OK parents: what are your best tips for saving money on the back-to-school crunch? Share your secrets, people.



  1. Natalie August 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Having just read the World Wildlife Fund’s report stating that we are using 50% more resources that then the planet can provide…I say thank you. Lots of great ideas on how to reuse!

  2. Karen Cook August 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Well, I don’t have kids, but I have noticed school supplies over at a local dollar store…you probably should check prices to make sure that you are getting a good deal wherever you go and not just plop down a dollar, but that is another source.

    As for electronics, a phone is NOT a necessity for school, especially one just to keep up with the Brandons and whoever. If it’s a necessity to keep in touch with a kid, a non-smart phone works just as well, and parents are in charge of the cost and *can* say no. Children can learn to be green, too, and not upgrade their electronic devices every Tuesday…

  3. Lucy August 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I’m not a parent either, but do have a 5-year old niece. She’s not into the “gotta have it” stage yet (thankfully), but I’ve gotten her some great clothes and other things at You have to set up an account to see the deals. They send out e-mails on a regular basis, so you only have to resist the urge to buy more than you need. The discounts are often 75%. You also get credits if you have others sign up. $10-$20 can go a long way there. They have adult stuff, too.

  4. The Mrs August 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    My biggest recommendation for saving money: buy used clothes at a place like Once Upon A Child. There are lots of barely worn things, lots of different brands, and lots of ways to save money. After the first wash, it’s hard to tell the difference between the stuff you bought new and the stuff you got second hand. Plus, with a family of five I do a load of laundry once a day, so they don’t need that many changes of clothes. Only a few outfits end up as favorites anyhow.

    I only wish I’d learned this lesson with my first baby, instead of wasting years buying new clothes that are outgrown in one season (or less).

  5. Kristi B August 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    We have 4 kids to buy school supplies and clothes for, grades 6, 9 & 12. I stock up on the basics (spiral bound notebooks, college rule and wide rule paper, pens and pencils) My high school kids are required to have 3″ binders which can get expensive. Our local thrift store has tons of binders and we save binders from the previous years. Colorful duct tape has been a godsend! It reinforces used binders and my kids have “custom” binders! I buy then one brand new outfit, usually from Kohls clearance sections for the first day, then I spend $100 at the thrift store for all 4 kids (usually on the 50% off day) I’ve always raised my kids that no one knows how long you’ve had something, so second hand clothes can be “new”. I do spend more on their sneakers for quality, but my girls are just as happy with thrift store flats and we’ve even found some expensive name brand sneakers that were nearly new for $2! They quickly became my daughters FAVORITE sneakers to a point 3 yrs later she still wears them! She loves them because no one else has a pair! Thrift stores can be great if you have a child like mine who would rather eat crickets than look like everyone else!

  6. Jo August 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Australian public primary schools charge a flat fee per student and provide stationery, which is easy, and in high school we have found it very easy to find most things we need around the house. I also keep a mental note of children of friends taking similar subjects, and offer to buy their used textbooks for my kids.
    In Australia we also have school uniforms, and I haunt the used clothing pool, and again, offer to buy used uniform from the parents of slightly larger children. I tend to buy expensive (on sale if possible) properly fitted school shoes, because they last so well. This is especially good when the kids stop growing – most good shoes last two to three years. For the little girls I go with shoes with inner soles that you can take out when you need the next size up.

  7. Angela August 12, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I don’t have kids but I second buying binders from thrift stores – I’ve just finished my degree and during the course of that I was pleased to discover binders at a thrift store at a fraction of the price they sell in Staples. Now that I’m done my degree I am going through my notes and deciding what to keep and what to throw away – and in the process freeing up binders which I will probably return to a thrift store (unless I can sell them on kijji).

    I think the buying new stuff for school is really a North American thing – I come from the UK (live in Canada now) and I was stunned at the back to school sales (and how things are marketed) when I first came here. In the UK you have to get school uniforms but the amount of supplies to be bought was minimal (although this is going back a bit – so things may have changed a bit now – altho’ I can’t imagine anything like the sales extravaganza that goes on in North America).

    Similarly, I’ve noticed that when kids get older and move into apartments (I live in an apartment block which has a lot of students) a huge amount of new stuff gets bought .. and then when the kids move out, a huge amount gets thrown out .. I acquired a lot of free things from the apartment garage area where people were just dumping stuff that was perfectly usable and they just didn’t want anymore – I had never seen anything like it – good things just being discarded.

  8. Angela August 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Also, kids really don’t need fancy cell phones beyond the basic of having one for making an emergency call … again, I say this as an older student having witnessed the impact that cell phones are having on people’s behaviour. I live close to a campus and I am surrounded by older kids who are just glued to their cell phones .. walking around with them, staring at a tiny screen and not looking where they are going. I’ve also witnessed people in class using them constantly … it seems to develop in people an inability to focus and concentrate and a constant distraction. I was recently in a psych class where the prof talked about the negative impact of cell phones on family relationships and connections between parent and child … all I can say is that it’s very difficult to have a conversation and do work with students who are physically present but emotionally distracted and somewhere else … so if your child asks for a cell phone think about what habits and patterns of interaction you are setting them up for down the road.

  9. Angela August 12, 2012 at 7:24 am

    To follow on from my last comment here’s a recent article about the impact of technology on people:

  10. littlebird August 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I am a parent to three 6, 10 and 13. We do frequent thrift stores, but usually at the end of the school year when the lost and founds get donated. I can usually score a nice northface jacket for each of them for the fall. It is still pretty warm when they go back to school so one nice new shirt and new shoes for each for a photo op makes them feel fresh and new enough. The best deal I have found is to go to the summer festivals and load up on the freebies. We have scored all our pencil and pen supplies and even a few cool ruler and folders! My kids have no problem asking if the pens are for free on the booth tables! After we have “shopped” in our house for supplies I write a list and usually go myself to avoid tempting items the kids may see. We customize the notebooks with free maps from AAA. They look forward to learning a new town each year as they see it everyday on their notebook, or tucked into the front of the clear binder cover. I have also printed out covers from my computer with photos of them from the summer. We are a no cell phone family so that point is mute for us. The expensive memory sticks can be found on sale and I stock up when they heavy load memory ones are on sale for $9 or less at Christmas time. My older son still has his same one from four years ago. We download it and it is empty to start each year. For the supplies we reuse each year I add new labels (Mabel label or emily press labels) that they design and use those on cloths too. That way the “already been used” look is offset by the new designed label. The cold hard fact is that I am personally sick of reading the lists that are sent home for us to purchase. At our school the list is unreal. 24 pencils, 24 pens etc. Who could possibly use that many in less than nine months of school? I only wish that our N American schools would seek out the attitudes you others have seen in Canada or elsewhere where there is less hype to rush out and get an overabundance of new supplies.

  11. Beth August 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Are schools really sending out supply lists in Comic Sans?

  12. Kerry August 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    @Beth Yes, Comic Sans for the scholastic win.

  13. Joan August 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I am one of the growing number of people who are severely allergic to scented products. Unfortunately, my children are too. I understand where you’re coming from, but I really do need to take exception to your comment “What’s the use of being in grade six if you can’t have smelly markers?”

    Please, please, please — parents need to save the “smelly markets” for home use. There are many children who react violently to scented products. (And think about it for a minute — does anyone need more chemicals in the air they breathe?) Classrooms need to be a safe environment for everyone.

  14. Money After Graduation August 13, 2012 at 6:39 am

    $688! Yikes. I remember being one of 4 children, and I can’t imagine how much money my parents must have spent (and not really had) to ensure we got all of our supplies. Great ideas to save!

  15. Connie Solidad August 13, 2012 at 7:10 am

    There are some really great tips here! The only thing I’d add is what I’ve seen some families around here do. Every year the lists come out, and there’s almost always a better deal to be had on school supplies if you buy in bulk. Most kids don’t need 10 notebooks, or 40 pencils, but if you get together with a couple of neighbors it’s a lot easier to “divide and conquer”. You save money by buying in bulk, and you still get everything you need off the list.

  16. Laura August 13, 2012 at 7:48 am

    We’re homeschoolers so we get to avoid a lot of the “keeping up with the Brandons”! LOL I recently stocked up at Superstore with packs of looseleaf paper at 19 cents for 150 sheets, glue sticks at 75 cents, etc. Dollar stores are great for notebooks and paper items during the year when the bigger stores don’t have the loss leaders, but I wouldn’t waste my money again on things like generic markers, pencils, etc. as they are really garbage quality in a lot of cases.
    We also frequent Value Village on 50% off days to stock up on special brandname or trendy clothes but the bulk of our kids’ wardrobes is from swapping with friends and family. I bought my daughter’s gorgeous like-new winter parka last year at Once Upon a Child for about $35, but it’s truly a keeper, and since I bought it big, it should fit for a few years.
    One thing our community (Edmonton) has is a city-sponsored recycle place called the Reuse Center. For a $5 donation, you can take home anything you like from the store. There are usually scads of clean binders, notebooks, pencils, craft supplies, etc. If you have one, you MUST check it out! I also snag yards and yards of fabric there to use for crafts and sewing.

  17. Lili@creativesavv August 13, 2012 at 9:25 am

    In the US, at least, many of the school lists at places like Target and Walmart have simply been copied from last year’s, which were copied from the year’s before. The child’s teacher may not have a use for some of the items on the list. And some items may not be adequately listed to buy. It’s okay to wait on that teacher-posted list until the days before school begins, and contact the teacher directly. Ask if the list is exactly as she wants.

    And when you do buy those listed items, beware, Target and Walmart have super cheap prices on the list items, because they’re hoping you’ll buy the rest of your gear in their store.

    And for backpacks and those expensive trapper-style notebooks, well my two daughters on on their fourth year with their backpacks and notebooks. I’ve repaired the zipper on one of the backpacks, and we’ve cleaned the fabric covering on the notebooks every year. To spruce up old stuff, the kids can use fabric paints/markers/stickers to personalize their belongings. Buy quality on these items and they’ll last for years. My kids understand that if we reuse items and save on lots of things like these, right now, then there will be money in the budget for a Disney trip later on.

    Clothing, I buy new sneakers at Buy 1 Get 1 sales, not necessarily before school starts, only if I find a sale, or they’ve outgrown their old ones. This is a good time of year to buy new socks and underwear. Many manufacturers offer bonus packs for back to school (7 pairs instead of 6, or something like that) I do buy 1 new item at Ross, or Marshalls before day 1, but my girls actually love to shop Value Village’s 50% off day on Labor Day. I’ll spend about $30 on that day, and we’re set for the new year.

    Crayons, markers, paints, colored paper etc, on super low price sales are great for buying now to put together art kit gifts for kids later on in the year, or as stocking stuffers, or for gift-filled shoe boxes that get sent out to a charitable organizations, at Christmas.

  18. Sam August 14, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Great tips – at the moment the biggest hit on my budget is school shoes. They’re unbelievably expensive and it’s the one area I refuse to scrimp on as I refuse to send him in trainers.

  19. Kinya August 16, 2012 at 3:58 am

    I don’t have kids but when I was in school mom took us to Goodwill to buy our clothes and shoes. There’s a Goodwill outlet in our area, and clothes are under a dollar per pound. You can find nice, cheap, namebrand things in Goodwill that have been gently used. I just recently bought a nice pair of namebrand jeans with studded back pockets for $4. It’s something you can look into.

  20. Jody August 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    My kids are young enough that I can shop the year before for most of their clothes. I love finding shirts on clearance for $3! I find I do have to spend more on shoes now though because my boys wear through the cheap ones from Wal-Mart. I would love to pass shoes down to my second son, but it just doesn’t seem to happen!

  21. […] Cut Back-to-School Costs With These Thrifty Tricks Chances are, your kid’s never-ending school-supply list is stressing you out more than last week’s episode of Breaking Bad. After all, the National Retail Federation says parents with K–12 kids can expect to spend $688 on supplies, clothing and electronics. So save some money by joining a clothing swap (look for them on Facebook or at a community church), buying pencils and papers in bulk at a big-box store and saving some of your clothes shopping for September and October when sales might be better. [Squawkfox] […]

  22. Fiona August 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I check out value village regularly. I just got a brand new back pack for 3.99 and a thermal lunch kit with a water bottle for 2.99. I’m guessing this saved me over 45 dollars. I go regularly in the summer when they have lots of fall gear but no one seems to be looking. I got myself three pairs of designer hardly warn if warn at all jeans for less than 30 dollars. Dressing three kids can get pricey so if I see somthing great that will fit in a year or so I scoop it up. There are tons of great toddler shorts and t shirts. With savings like this I don’t mind buying a few key pieces at Joe because after all dressing kids should be fun too. I also offer my 12 year old some paid chores and she can use this money to pick out items she would like for back to school. That’s my two cents 😉

  23. Laurie August 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments today, so if I repeat someone else’s idea, please forgive!

    After my oldest child’s first few years of school, I learned to hold off on supplies shopping until AFTER school starts.

    We used to faithfully purchase every dang thing on the supplies list only to find out that 1) some teachers required something DIFFERENT than what was on the list, 2) some teachers required LESS than what was on the list, and 3) oftentimes, the school/classroom already stocked the items and we didn’t have to buy them at all.

    I have noticed that my kids’ teachers have almost universally been very sympathetic about the cost of school supplies, both in a general way, as well as with specific regard for the nation’s current crappy economic conditions. (Also, since many of them have kids of their OWN in the same school system, they encounter the same financial outlay as the rest of us do.)

    My kids now hit school on the first day with nothing more than a pen, a pencil, a spiral notebook, and a folder with loose leaf paper. And chances are, we’ll NEVER need to purchase those more “exotic” items on that “requirement” list.

    As an aside, many school systems will also provide you with supplies if you are low income or just can’t swing the costs at the moment. They will not let kids go without the necessary supplies. Teachers are almost always willing to pitch in as well, by loaning/giving supplies from their own self-purchased stockpile. Granted, this comes out of their own pocket, so I don’t take advantage of this unless I’m really pinched. BUT, you can always pay the teacher back when things are better for you by sending in a box of tissues or a pack of pencils to help them replenish their supplies. A few years ago, one of my friends even contacted the school to let them know that her family did not have the funds at that time to pay for her son to go on a class field trip. The school provided the money for him to go, which helped him educationally, but also kept him from feeling stigmatized for being “poor.”

  24. Tee August 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I barter my talents, skills & abilities to save in back to school (as well as extra curricular activities, autism therapy needs, food, clothing, shoes, etc!) some things I’m unable to barter (my autistic, dyslexic, ambidextrous, mentally challenged, etc, also suffering from severe PTSD after several back to back to back issues this summer daughter, can NOT do her work on paper by herself! Therefore she requires an iPad. Thankfully my husbands work has a special discount (they’re own dedicated web page from apple!), and my mother in law is covering that nearly $1000CDN expense (including dock, full cover, keyboard, etc.) other then that, I always have school supplies in bulk around my house because I run 2 home based businesses and I homeschool during vacations, holidays & on weekends! (my daughter needs to work a LOT harder then your average child). This year I didn’t have as much time to barter due to the still birth of our twins, funeral costs, planning, etc. But I still managed to keep back to school, fall AND winter supplies and clothes and shoes/boots under $100—NEW!!! Or “used” but with original tags on them! We’re talking brands like g-unit, gap, Ralph Lauren, rocawear, the children’s place & MORE! She’s set till at least spring for clithes & the shrine school year or longer for supplies for UNDER $100!! I don’t pay full price for anything if I can avoid it!

    I’m Canada or at least in Ontario where I live we’re not given lists of school suipllies to but! It’s all pretty niches suipllies till the older grades & even then it’s basics (binder, paper, pencils, pens, pencil case, backpack & indoor shoes with non marking soles for inside—which is required in EVERY grade—JK and up!)

  25. Shivani August 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I buy our winter/summer clothing staples such as jeans, sweaters, shorts, skirts & tank tops at the end of the season for the following year. Those items styles don’t change and with the kids sized by age I am able to predict what will fit for the following year. I can usually get many of these items at 75% percent off. I then just store them by season and item. At the beginning of any new season I shop “our store” before I go anywhere else. I’ve been fairly lucky and have rarely had to purchase something “new”.

  26. Dixiecharmer August 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Unsented felt tip markers are less likly to trigger asthma attacks as some scented markers have been known to do. I found used binders and book bags at our Goodwill Store, plus reused pencil box from previous year when my children were younger.

    My youngest son joined the Air Force and will use his GI Bill for college expense, He will live at home to reduce cost and has a full time job so will not need to take out student loans. His pens will come from our bank, and we have several mechanical pencils,

  27. Refinnejjecoy August 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    the reason for the NON scented markers is because people have fragrance allergies and school is for learning, not for children (and teachers alike) to have breathing issues, or vicious migraines.

  28. Refinnejjecoy August 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    My children’s school is trying to run me for my money. They require $35 for each child for school supplies. So that is $70 and doesn’t include things like shoes, backpacks, lunch kits or obviously clothing.
    the same school supplies I could have bought for both girls for under $35 in total.
    Keep in my my girls are only in grade 1 and grade 3. Not happy!

  29. […] Cut back to school costs with these tricks @ Squawkfox […]

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