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Don’t Overspend on School Supplies

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When the single mom is struggling to get her assignments ready to hand in by the deadline, it’s nice to know that there is enough paper in the printer and a stapler available to hold the work together. But, when you have kids, you know how quickly the printer gets robbed of the copy paper for use when their creativity calls on them to draw. They also tend to forget to let you know when they need school supplies, and may end up borrowing yours. Keep extra on hand so that you always have what you need to have your own assignments ready to submit on time.

Find the Best Deals on Supplies for College

In the fall, when the kids go back to school, school supplies are usually at the lowest price. As you shop for the kids, make sure to have a list of your needed supplies, too. If you can afford to stock up, now is the time to do it. The supplies you’ll need probably won’t drop this low again until next fall.

Surprisingly, you can often get a better deal at the office supply store than you can at the discount stores on school supplies. Watch the ads, and rebate offers. Sign up for their email newsletters so that you don’t miss out on sales, especially if you’re looking for more expensive items like a computer, printer or storage.

The campus bookstore has school supplies for sale, but they are usually more expensive than purchases made off of the grounds. While a handy place to pick up emergency needs, each student will have to make the decision about whether having supplies that show off the school mascot is worth the extra price.

If the single mom is taking a course like photography or art, she may need special supplies that can’t be found in the discount or office supply stores. Special papers, brushes, fixatives and even camera film can be quite expensive. Suggest that the class get together and purchase the items in bulk, and you’ll be able to save a substantial amount of your education supplies budget.

Suggested Supplies

When the single mom goes back to school, she’ll probably realize that she needs the same basic supplies that her young children need.  To keep everything in one place and make transportation easier, start with a backpack or book bag. You’ll be carrying everything back and forth on a daily basis, without the benefit of a desk or locker to keep your items in.

Special items and supplies will be listed on the syllabus that is available in advance of the school term, but basic items each student should carry with them are:

  • Notebooks
  • Binders
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Eraser
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Tape
  • Folders

College students buy their own textbooks and often find that instead of taking copious notes, it’s often easier to write in the margins of the book or use a highlighter to mark important text. A small pack of sticky notes for extra notes and to use as bookmarks will also come in handy.

If you plan on doing homework outside of the home, pick up a small paperback dictionary and thesaurus and keep them in the backpack for when you need them.

Other items that are often needed for throughout the term include:

  • Calculator
  • Stapler and staples
  • Copy paper
  • Printer ink or toner
  • Data Storage

Saving Money on School Supplies with Office Supply Stores

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As summer winds down and families start gearing up for back-to-school, most of the retail outlets put school supplies on sale. This is a great time to stock up on the things you’ll need for school, too, mom. Even college students need paper, pens and pencils. Folders, calculators, planners and all sorts of educational materials can be stockpiled when the prices are right.

What if you’re strapped for cash when those sales are going on? What about the second semester that starts in January and the new set of supplies you need then? The retail stores have moved on to other seasonal items and you’ll pay full price for the everyday school supplies you need. Time to look elsewhere.

Office Depot

Office Depot is a big name franchise but they focus on just what their name implies, office supplies. School supplies and office supplies obviously have a lot in common. Because they buy in bulk year round, their prices tend to be lower than big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. They have weekly sales promotions that you can check from the convenience of your computer. You can also sign up for alerts by text message whenever they have special deals. They promise no more than 5 messages a month so it won’t eat up your texting plan.

Another benefit of shopping at Office Depot for your school supplies is the Worklife Benefits program. It is free to enroll and entitles you to 10% back on Ink, Toner, Paper and copy, print and ship services from Copy & Print Depot. In addition to that, you earn 1% back on 99% of everything else they sell. The earnings remain available to you and active for one calendar year from when they were earned. You can use the rewards for online, in-store or over-the-phone purchases on 99% of all merchandise, including digital photo service.

Office Max

Office Max, like Office Depot services the business and school industries. They offer lower prices than many other retail stores, weekly sales and email notification of special offers. On their website, you an even find a clearance section that is updated periodically. MaxPerks is Office Max’s loyalty reward program for is customers but it is restricted to teachers and business members.

Staples

The last of the big name office supply stores is Staples. Like the other two, Staples has a weekly sales ad, readable online. They offer free shipping on orders over $50 and an easy reorder feature that lets you choose from items if you’ve ordered in the past. Their reward program, Staples Rewards, gives you 10% back in Staples Rewards on all ink and toner, case and ream paper and Copy & Print purchases and 10% on qualifying purchases. Your rewards are given to you monthly as long as you earn at least $10 in rewards. If you don’t meet the minimum, the reward will carry over until the end of the quarter, when, if the minimum is still not met, the rewards will be lost.