It’s time to start looking for the best back-to-school sales and if you have children, you’re probably already thinking about how to save money.
These are a few tried and true back-to-school hacks you need in order to do that very thing.
Remember to set Deal Alerts in the KCL app if there’s a specific item you’re shopping for.
1. Shop on Sunday and Monday — supplies run out quickly during the best back-to-school sales.
Weekly back-to-school sales start on Sunday mornings and back-to-school stuff disappears quickly when prices are low.
The back-to-school hack here is to shop early in the week for the best likelihood of finding the items you want in stock — preferably before the end of day Monday.
Most back-to-school stuff is stored in two places in the store: in the back-to-school seasonal section and in the regular office supply section.
If the item is out of stock in one, check the other. Then be sure to ask the manager for a rain check when both sections are empty.
2. Plan to shop 6 times during back-to-school season.
To get the best prices and take full advantage of sales and coupons, you’ll need to make more than one back-to-school shopping trip this summer.
But don’t act like you’re not already going to Target multiple times per month. I know you.
I estimate six trips to be a good average number to stock a family with school-aged children with supplies for a year.
Pick one to three stores near you, and make the rounds once a week for six weeks during the mid-July through August back-to-school season.
You can even make another trip in September to score the 90% off clearance items at stores like Walgreens and Target.
3. Buy bulk school supplies from Amazon online.
There are great bargains to be found if you’re willing to buy back-to-school stuff in bulk.
4. Look for back-to-school coupons, especially on brands like Bic, Elmer’s, Kleenex, Purell and Post-it.
Watch for manufacturer and store coupons from office supply brands during July and August.
Redeem the manufacturer coupons on sale-priced items for the biggest savings. Specifically, look for:
- Snail mail coupons are usually bulk mailed out by companies like Target, Staples and Office Depot, typically to local residents (you don’t have to even do anything to receive them).
- Magazine coupons like the ones from Parenting are a fantastic source of back-to-school coupons.
- Sunday newspaper coupons from sources like P&G Everyday, Smart Source and Procter & Gamble will have a few coupons for school supplies each week.
- In-store coupons are typically found on the shelves or inside of products. Walgreens usually has lots of back-to-school coupons in the weekly ad in the front of the store.
- Printable coupons for school supplies become available while summer is still in full swing, so warm up your printer!
Check out these 11 Places to find coupons online.
5. Use money-saving apps to save on school supplies.
Apps are perfectly portable ways to save on school supplies. Our faves:
6. Buy a year’s worth of office supplies between July – August.
Beginning the second week of July and running through the end of August, you can expect to find the lowest annual price on items like writing utensils, art supplies, paper and office staples.
So, not only is this the best time of year to shop for back-to-school, but it’s also the best time to stock up on paper clips, printer paper, Sharpies and even Purell.
How do you know when the price warrants stocking up?
A whole year’s worth of paper can be quite a commitment. So check out the 2019 Back to School Stock-Up Price List from KCL — your prognosticator of price-points.
7. Stick to name brands like Crayola and Ticonderoga.
This is because name brands become cheaper than generics when you shop sales and use back-to-school coupons.
Find out where you should be shopping to get the lowest prices on school supplies.
8. Get a price match at Target, Staples or Office Depot.
- Staples 110% Match. When you find a lower price on a new, identical item, Staples matches it. Even better, they’ll discount it by 10% of the difference.
- Target Price Match Guarantee. When you buy an item and see it for less within 2 weeks at Target.com, in a local ad or at these online competitors, you’ll save some money. Find out more here.
- Office Depot/OfficeMax. When you find a lower price on a new, identical item at an Office Depot or OfficeMax store within 14 days of your purchase, Office Depot will match the price or refund you the difference.
9. Use the Amazon app for comparison shopping.
The Amazon app is your back-to-school hacks buddy — it compares prices when you’re shopping in-store.
Use the camera button (next to the search bar) to scan the bar code of the item you’re shopping, and Amazon lets you know what they sell the same item for.
If the Amazon selling price is cheaper, request a price match for instant savings.
Love shopping online? Learn these tips to save on back-to-school without leaving your house.
10. Pay with Raise.com gift cards and save up to 5%.
I buy discounted gift cards from Raise.com in anticipation of shopping school supplies from stores like Walmart (up to 3% off), Target (up to 5% off), and Staples (up to 5% off).
11. Borrow or rent musical instruments and sporting equipment.
Do you really want to buy a cello just because your child is trying it out this year?
When it comes to musical instruments, sporting equipment and tools for home economics and woodworking classes, figure out which items your child can borrow.
In our city, you can rent to own musical instruments at the local music shop.
12. Follow KCL’s Back-to-School page.
Did you know we have our own Back-to-School page?
Keep up to date on the hottest hand-curated deals out there! During peak season, look for dozens of new deals each week at stores like Target, Walmart, Office Depot and Staples!
Resources & Links Mentioned