It’s that time of year again. You need to plan on school supplies for the kids and/or for yourself . But in this economy, how can we do this efficiently and minimize costs?
There are several ways we can stretch our dollars and plan for each school season.
With this year looking glum due to lack of shopping, retailers will be pulling out the stops in order to attract loyal and new customers. Familiar brands such as Papermate, Bic, Crayola, Meade, Jansport, Scotch/ 3M, Hewlett Packard, Dell, etc. will be offering sales incentives in order to drum up business. Why not be one of the lucky ones to catch a good sale, buy in bulk and save?
Here are a few ways to stretch your dollar during the “back to school” rush:
Online Sales Promotions/ Offline Shopping
83% of the consumer marketplace will shop sales promotions online. Although online purchases are convenient, good old fashioned offline shopping is still popular. Online offers the convenience of in home shopping, but offline (in-store) shopping allows you to see the products in person and catch additional “unadvertised sales”. Take note of “promotional codes” in sales brochures sent to you by mail. Many times these promotional codes can be used for everything from back to school supplies and clothes to housewares, depending on the vendor.
K-Mart Layaway Plan
K-mart is aggressively reaching out to their customers by re-implementing the “lay-a-way plan”. For 40 years K-mart has offered consumers an economical way to purchase an item without losing their shirts: you make payments every 2 weeks until the bill is paid. In addition to the layaway plan, at times they will have promotional items offered such as these offered for the month of August:
8/1-8 Free color theme book
8/9-15 Wood pencil case
8/23-29 Receive free sharpener
These items may not seem like a lot but if you have 2 or more children, every little bit helps.
Buy In Bulk
To stretch your dollar further, buy in bulk when possible. Stock up on standard school supplies such as notebooks, pencils (#2 for test taking), batteries for calculators, copy paper for printers, staplers and staples. Watch store sales, use promotional codes and print out online coupons, cut out manufacturer coupons and use them when making purchases-but always check the coupon expiration date.
Lets face it: backpacks and nap sacks are the permanent book bag for school. They have to be cool, trendy and durable, but not over priced. Today’s students carry everything from multiple history books to laptops. Look for Land’s End, LL Bean and Jansport backpacks costing $50.00.
Our wallets are tighter so our shopping strategies need to be smarter. Don’t disregard the 99 Cent Shops. They offer back to school supplies in abundance at prices well below the average retailer. These stores buy in bulk at below normal wholesale prices. They offer everything from note school supplies to household products-many are name brands we all know. In many cases these stores also buy leftover stock from manufacturers at a savings which they can offer to consumers. Buy in bulk and save.
Ebay Auction for Back To School
Hey don’t knock it. Ebay is limitless. Manufacturers have opened Ebay stores, liquidators sell their stock on Ebay and average consumers sell their lightly used/ almost new items on Ebay.
I bought a beautiful designer bag for $220.00 from the owner who originally purchased the bag at Saks Fifth Avenue for $500- all original tags and store receipts were still attached. I had missed the chance to purchase the bag from SAKS and found it by chance on Ebay. You never know…
Need more help? Sign up for email sale alerts from your favorite retailers. Online coupons and promotional sales alerts are sent to customers via email. Many exclusive promotions are for online customers only. Tip: if you receive online coupons, inquire if the same coupon can be used in the store. In some cases online coupons may be for “online purchases only”. Be wise, alert, sign up and save!
Tip: Uniform Back up
Try buying coordinated pieces that can be used as both school uniforms and casualwear to get doubleduty out of your wardrobe budget. Examples:
2 pairs of khaki pants
2 or 3 white shirts
2 Oxford blue shirts
2 navy, black or grey pleated skirts
2 navy blazers
Stocking up on these items (buying a size up for longevity) will minimize spending for the next season and allow you to use these items for school or casual dress and a great way to stretch your dollar.
Lastly, don’t throw away school supplies or clothing your children no longer user or need. Give them away to charity or families that aren’t as fortunate.
We could go on with more ideas on how to stretch your dollar for the back to school season. But we’re sure you have your own ideas-feel free to share them. We’re all in this economy together and the ultimate goal is to:
Stay alert for valuable sales.
Shop smarter and save.
Stretch your dollar as much as possible during the back to school shopping season.