It's that time of year again. You can't escape it. Back-to-school shopping is starting up. But in these tight times, you may need to take a new approach when buying up school supplies. Jody Rohlena, Senior Editor for ShopSmart Magazine, offers some tips on how to save on your pens and pencils.
First, take inventory of what you already have. You could have most of what you need on your shopping list already. Check around the house, in drawers and around desks for pens, pencils, and notebooks. Why go out and spend money on stuff you might already have.
Once you know what you need, consider swapping. If your search through the desk drawers turns up stuff you don't need any more, swap them for things you do need. Call other parents or go to Swapmamas.com to find others willing to share. When you click on School & Office, you could find supplies like new backpacks, clothing, crayons and more.
When you are ready to buy supplies, look for stuff you can buy in bulk. Warehouse clubs are a great place to stock up on notebooks, pens, and computer paper. There are also online stores like RaymondGeddes.com and DiscountSchoolSupply.com. But be careful you only buy what you can use. You'll lose money on whatever gets wasted.
If your child needs a new computer or a scientific calculator, try buying a refurbished model. These and open but unused products could save you hundreds of dollars. But it is recommended to use retailers you trust. Check out Amazon.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com/outlet and SonyStyle.com/outlet.
And finally be strategic with the way you shop for supplies. Shopping the sales at a lot of stores could save you money, but you could be wasting time and gas. Search the sunday circulars and websites like SundaySaver.com before you go out to find the best deals. Also, once you find a deal, shop at stores that have a price-matching policy, like Staples, Target and Walmart. In the end you'll be happy with the time, money and gas you saved to get the best deal.
For more advice on how to save on school supplies and other consumer advice, click here.
by Jenn Eaker