In the heart of this heat wave, it’s hard to believe that back to school time is almost here, but (cue Jaws theme music) it is! Time to switch gears from sunblock and sand to getting ‘schooled’ on the latest bargains and sales.
If this is your first foray into the mind-boggling concept of ‘the school supply list’ then I would advise you to check out a previous post of mine: Back to School Bargains https://the-thrifty-mom.com/2021/08/13/back-to-school-bargains/ for some basic tips on store selection, an explanation of what a loss leader is and how to use it to your advantage, and a definition of what a Ticonderoga pencil is.
Alright, now that you have read that and are all up to speed you will probably find yourself asking: Where can I find my child’s supply list? As a kid of the eighties, I remember everything getting mailed home. That ain’t happening anymore. Everything is electronic now. You will either get an e-mail with a link to the list or you will have to go online to your kiddo’s school website and download the list yourself. For those of you in my neck of the woods I have included a link to D303’s supply list here:
https://munhall.d303.org/doc/1Aq9nZMhUOz0-l2wlPYVx0_5J-jWceVgd (District 303 school supply list)
I don’t know if all school districts are doing this, but D303 came up with an awesome idea for busy working parents- the prepacked school supply kit. All you had to do was click on the link, select your child’s grade level, pay, and all your supplies show up on your doorstep in time for the first day of school. Unfortunately, in order to make this happen in a timely fashion they had to close the online store July 10 to allow for shipping time but do keep this option in mind for next year! Look for the link to get e-mailed to you at the end of this school year. I’ve included the link here https://www.write-stuff.com/storefront/school/munhall in case you want to check it out anyway. Keep in mind this option offers convenience, but not necessarily the best price.
Now that you know what it is you need, it’s time to do some comparison shopping so you can find those loss leaders I was talking about in Back to School Bargains and take advantage of them. Here’s some links to some of the stores in my area offering school supplies:
Walmart: Was genius! This year they offered a school supply list look up tool! You can also look up items by grade level and get an instant cost estimate. https://www.walmart.com/cp/school-supplies/1086045?&adid=22222222220456605973&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=e&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=607756041327&wl4=kwd-297609121903&wl5=9021516&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&veh=sem&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_viWBhD8ARIsAH1mCd58eE2EnNbpzeesODjJRduSmpTWo0-0upXw84MH3v4UVt3O7bJHE1YaAkhbEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
Meijer: Also convenient, you can shop by grade level ‘bundle’. .https://www.meijer.com/shopping/c/collections/back-to-school.html
Five Below: Great for backpacks, headphones, lunchboxes, and boasts $1 school supplies. https://www.fivebelow.com/featured/back-to-school?gclid=Cj0KCQjw_viWBhD8ARIsAH1mCd4OB-TzNAFwsR6H9mlT_-Sqc5__CJdixUq75my-mEoDBPR-dj32grYaAh1-EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
Dollar Tree: Great for affordable lunch box snacks.
Need more help than just bargains? Check out the links below to find out how you can get financial assistance/donations for school supplies:
https://www.adoptaclassroom.org/2022/02/16/grants-for-teachers-to-use-on-classroom-supplies/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwz96WBhC8ARIsAATR252vMAWHPzn1hjrVlxOlOfylFVz0xU_3e0N4sJNHW0DZDg_fhugc_0caAg6yEALw_wcB (Allows teachers to get grants to use on school supplies for their classrooms.)
https://www.care.com/c/7-ways-to-get-free-school-supplies/ (care.com article with more ideas on how to get free supplies for kids in need.)
https://freefinancialhelp.net/back-to-school-supplies/ (‘Help finder’ search tool to link you to supply programs in your area.)
https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/find_free_school_supplies.html (Another ‘help finder’ search tool to link you to supply programs in your area.)
Wanna Help Others in Need? Click on the link below to donate money so other kids can get the school supplies they need.
https://www.thechildrensgift.org/about.html (Donate money to help kids get supplies or apply to get supplies for your kids)
Resale Shops: Don’t forget to hunt around in your local Goodwill or Salvation Army resale shop! Proceeds from sales go to fund community programs and you can usually find new or gently used backpacks, lunch boxes, crayons, markers, pencils, folders, pencil cases, gym shoes, and headphones! Check out the links below for some of my previous blog posts on finding and navigating resale shops.
https://the-thrifty-mom.com/2020/03/12/tip1-location-location-location/ (Background info on Goodwill and Salvation Army resale shops as well as links to store locations near you.)
https://the-thrifty-mom.com/2020/03/14/tip2-plan-ahead/ (Some tips for timing your shopping trips so you can find what you’re looking for when you’re looking for it.)
https://the-thrifty-mom.com/2021/05/18/when-to-buy-and-when-to-say-no-way/ (Some tips for evaluating quality of used merchandise to see if it is worth purchasing.)
Happy back to school shopping everyone!