School Shopping

Every year, around the same time remarkably, I have found myself scrounging up more and more money for the back to school supplies needed for my five children. Every year I am always looking for more and more ways to save a few more bucks considering the fact that prices for everything from milk to gasoline are constantly on the rise. So, I figured I would post a few tips to help some of the other parents out there who are trying to save a few bucks.


  • Shop at outlets, especially for shoes! I like the Vans outlet the best. While their selection isn’t always the broadest, we can find shoes for all of the kids at lower prices (many times) than even Walmart!
  • I like to hit up the local thrift stores to see what they have in the way of blue jeans for my kids before going to Wal-Mart, Kmart, or the like. Many times I can find some name brand (meaning extremely expensive brands) jeans for pennies on the dollar. I never take my kids with me, though. If they don’t know where the Levi’s came from, then they will wear them with pride!
  • I buy my kids the durable backpacks…not the ones with the pretty pictures of the cartoon characters or the latest teenage craze on them. I have found that these backpacks don’t last 2 months, much less half the school year. My kids get the plain, but durable backpacks that I won’t have to replace over and over again.
  • I like to get the school supplies lists at the end of the previous school year, if possible. This helps me to save money on unneeded school supplies.
  • I also shop ALL of the ads for everything! Wal-Mart will match their competitors pricing, just take the ad into the store with you while shopping. That way you not only save money on the items you are purchasing, but you are saving money on the gas because you aren’t driving from store to store picking up only a few items.
  • I also try to think of everything prior to going to the store (doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does). My list that I usually take: binders, lined paper, graph paper, crayons, color pencils, markers, pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners (the little one’s), glue, gym shoes, blue jeans, shorts, underwear, socks, regular shoes, backpacks…I’m probably still missing a few…

How do you save money on school supplies?


  1. Walmart & Target! 🙂 And whatever we don't find there, usually just an item or two, Office Max…which is great, because I realize how much I saved! You are so right about the durable backpacks, I let my boys pick what they like but we're on the 2nd year of 'durables', with a few other themed backpacks not being used, because they outgrew the characters on them! Not happening again. As for shoes, given how fast they grow, it's not worth buying more than 1-2 pairs of sneakers, and I've got TJMaxx and DSW and Last Chance all here, so sometimes I can get some fantastic deals on name brands (even designer brands) for ridiculously low prices. Same for t-shirts and pants and whatever accessories. I also love H&M, sometimes they have really nice clothes for kids and teens, and great sales. We go through lots of socks…either MIA in the laundry, or else they just get ruined. My biggest expense is jeans…and that's where I invest, because given how my boys use them, if they're not really good and sturdy, they end up with holes in the knees in a week. And of course they've got to be a nice cut & color, else they won't get worn. lol And another lesson…at least for me, don't buy too many clothes all at once. I find that fewer clothes and better quality ultimately saves money, as the clothes are cut better, they last a lot longer and look good after washing. I hate getting shirts and t-shirt that end up two sizes smaller after one wash in lukewarm water…or else look like they're 100 years old after two weeks. I've kept some clothes from Alex for Julian, they truly look as good as new. And you're right, thrift stores are a gem sometimes too, you can find stuff with tags still on for such great prices.

    1. Joanna,

      Kids grow so fast that’s it’s really not economical to buy much of anything in large quantities for them (i.e. shoes and clothes). To top it off, one minute it’s High School Musical and the next it’s Justin Bieber…then Edward and Jacob…I honestly have no clue what’s ‘in’ anymore! To top it off, socks rarely get paired together after laundry is done in my house. We have a ‘sock bucket’ where they all end up…and I end up throwing out one sock at a time because of holes. So, who knows how many pairs are actually in there. About every six months I have to buy a new package of socks because no one can find any pairs (even though there’s about a million socks in the bucket!!). I’ve also found that I enjoy thrift store shopping. My husband and I went a few months ago…nothing special in mind…just went to look. We found some great stuff!

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