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CDC back-to-school guidelines are bound to affect your child’s school supply list for the fall. And you know as well as I do that some of the items schools need most are already difficult to find. (Looking at you, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer.)

So this year, you’re gonna have to think outside the school-supply box if you want to get everything on your kids’ back-to-school shopping lists before everyone else starts shopping.

Download the KCL app, and we’ll tell you the second we see deals on these items and whenever we see out-of-stock items show up on the shelves.

Here’s a head start:


1. Get kids’ cloth face masks at Etsy.com, Old Navy or Target.

Old Navy fabric face masks in store.

You’ll want to have face masks for kids on hand just in case your school requires them. Sizing can be a pain, so buy early to make sure you have what you need.

When it comes to cloth face masks for small school-aged kids (preschool to first or second grade), you’re safe buying a “kid size.”

Sizing gets trickier with older school-aged kids and teens. Especially kids in about third grade through junior high. Kid sizes are too small, and adult sizes are often too big. I have a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old, and I’ve found that a “teen” size fits them both perfectly.

You can find loads of options for teen-size cloth face masks on Etsy.com. There’s a wide range of prices, and you can message the seller before you make a purchase to be sure the sizing works. In general, 7.5″ wide will fit older kids and young teens. Also, I recommend buying just one mask to make sure the sizing fits since you usually can’t get a refund. If it fits, order more.

Old Navy’s adult-size masks are 7.5″ wide, so that’s an option for older kids too. Old Navy doesn’t offer returns on masks, so be aware of that before you buy.

Target is another great option to look into. For example. Cat & Jack kids face masks are just $1.90 each, regular price.

Old Navy

Buy 1 Variety 10-pack Triple Layer Cloth Face Masks for Adults $25, regular price
Online exclusive – get 25% off your entire order
Final Price: $18.75 ($1.88 per mask)
Buy 1 Variety 5-Pack Triple Layer Cloth Face Masks for Kids $12.50, regular price
Online exclusive – get 25% off your entire order
Final Price: $9.37 ($1.87 per mask)


Buy 1 Cat & Jack Kids’ Face Masks, 2 count $4, regular price
Use RedCard for 5% off
Final Price: $3.80 ($1.90 per mask)


2. Buy hand sanitizer in store at Dollar Tree or at Walmart.com.

Hand sanitizer bottle held in front of a shelf full of the same product.

Hand sanitizer is starting to hit the shelves again now that the panic buying of COVID has died down. Of course, this means you should absolutely be buying hand sanitizer for your home and for your child’s classroom in the fall.

To get the best price, go in store at Dollar Tree where you can find 8-ounce Germ-X for $1, no limits on quantity, but of course, don’t be that person who clears the shelf!

You won’t find it at DollarTree.com, so don’t bother.

If you strike out at your local Dollar Tree, you can find hand sanitizer at Walmart. In fact, just add it to your next Walmart grocery order for delivery or pickup. You’ll spend a bit more than you would at Dollar Tree, but at least you’ll get some hand sanitizer!

Also, Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer is back in stock. They only sell “PocketBac,” which are mini hand sanitizers, but they’re perfect to stash in your child’s book bag for them to use anytime.

Dollar Tree

Buy 1 Germ-X Hand Sanitizer 8 ounces $1, regular price
Final Price: $1


Buy 1 Artnaturals Hand Sanitizer Gel 8 ounces $4, regular price
Final Price: $4

Bath & Body Works

Buy 5 Select Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitizer $1.95, regular price
5 for $8 in stores only
Final Price: $1.60 each, when you buy 5


3. Buy facial tissue for $1 or less at Walmart.com or a dollar store.

Everyday Great Value Facial Tissue boxes inside Walmart.

While a dollar per box is slightly higher than KCL’s recommended stock-up price, considering that facial tissue has been in high demand due to the pandemic, it’ll have to do.

Look for this price at Walmart.com, and if you don’t find any there, go in person to a dollar store like Dollar General or Dollar Tree.


Buy 1 Great Value Everyday Soft Facial Tissues 100 count $0.92, regular price
Final Price: $0.92

Dollar General

Buy 1 DG Home Facial Tissue Cube or Flat, 75-100 count $1, regular price
Final Price: $1 each

Dollar Tree

Buy 1 Kleenex Facial Tissue, 75 count $1, regular price
Final Price: $1 each


4. Don’t pay more than $1 for plastic pencil boxes to hold school supplies.

Plastic pencil box at Walmart.

You can get plastic pencil boxes at Walmart for $0.97, which means you shouldn’t pay more for them anywhere else.

The CDC is recommending every child have their own art supplies and plastic school box.

Here’s the lowest list prices for a few popular art supplies. Look for coupons on brands like Crayola and Elmer’s to get even deeper discounts!

Crayola Colored Pencils, 24 count

Crayola Crayons, 24 count

Elmer’s Glue, 4 ounces


5. Stock up on paper lunch bags at Target.com.

Brown paper lunch bags with a Target shopping basket.

If you’d like to send your child with a disposable lunch bag this fall instead of a reusable one in an effort to limit germs going to and from your home, you’ll need the best price possible.

I compared prices on brown paper bags at Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Target wins out by a long shot! Check it out:

Brown disposable lunch bags

TIP: If you want a more eco-friendly option, check out this reusable bento lunch bag at Walmart for $11.99.



6. Take it on the chin and go in store to find cleaning wipes.

Clorox wipes container held in an aisle in Walmart.

To get Lysol, Clorox, or generic disinfecting wipes, you’re gonna have to put that mask on and go into a store. But good news — grocery stores say they’re starting to see more frequent shipments than they have in months, and with purchasing limits, the shelves shouldn’t start totally clearing until all the other parents begin school supply shopping. (So you should beat them!)

Since quantities are still limited to one per purchase, plan to shop once a week until school starts, and you should have a nice little stash for both your home and your kids’ classrooms.

Price isn’t as much of a consideration since disinfecting wipes are so hard to find, but I bought Clorox wipes at Target and they came to $4.39 ($0.06 per wipe).

TIP: Grab hand sanitizer while you’re physically in the store too. Especially if you can’t find any online!


7. Add eight bottles of hand soap to your Walmart grocery order.

Hand soap held in over a shopping cart filled with the same products.

Hand soap is in stock at most grocery stores right now, and even if you’re not going into the store, you can add it to your Walmart grocery order.

Walmart limits quantities to two of each type of hand soap per order. But you can get around the limits by buying two of each brand or scent of soap. For example, I can get eight bottles of SoftSoap hand soap when I add two bottles of four different scents to my Walmart pickup or delivery order.

Softsoap hand soap pump bottle


RELATED: How Grocery Pickup Works, Simplified for Busy Moms


8. Don’t pay more than $200 on a laptop for school.

Laptop with sales price tag


You can get a Chromebook for under $200 pretty easily. Walmart, Best Buy, and Target all offer prices like this, so don’t pay more!


Buy 1 Lenovo 3 Celeron Chromebook 11.6″ (reg. $199.99) $169, sale price
Final Price: $169
Buy 1 Samsung Chromebook 4 11.6″ Intel Celeron (reg. $229.99) $99, sale price in store only
Final Price: $99

Best Buy

Buy 1 ASUS 11.6″ Chromebook Intel Celeron (reg. $189) $159, sale price
Final Price: $159


Buy 1 HP 11.6″ Chromebook $199.99, regular price
Final Price: $199.99


Don’t scroll up! Here’s the article mentioned:

How Grocery Pickup Works, Simplified for Busy Moms


UP NEXT: Get even more money-saving back-to-school tips.


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