Today I have to register Bee for school. Despite my misery, it seems that the summer has flown by! I think we’re mostly ready though. We got haircuts, bought a few new clothes at the JCPenney clearance sale, got new shoes, and shopped for school supplies – my personal favorite.
My husband still laughs about a time, during the first summer that we were together, when we walked into a grocery store and they had all the school supplies by the front door. I got all excited, and exclaimed, “It’s school supply time! I LOVE school supplies!”
He found it most amusing that I, a grown woman, could get so worked up about crayons and markers, but I can’t help it. I do love school supplies. He doesn’t understand this at all, but as a kid, I was always excited to have new, clean notebooks to write in, and brand, spanking new crayons with sharp points for drawing. I’m just nerdy like that, I guess.
Anyway, when I say we went school supply shopping, I don’t mean in the store. We got all of our school supplies out of the supply box in our basement.
This supply box is part of my method of “organized pack-rattery.” Before Bee started kindergarten last year, I wrote about smart school supply shopping, and one of my readers, Juliana, gave me a really excellent idea. She said that if our school has a web site, I should print out the supply lists for future years, because they rarely change much. That way I could stock up on supplies when they went on clearance after school started.
I took her advice, and I was very glad I did! Last year, after school started, I went to Wal-Mart and bought supplies at rock bottom clearance prices. Here are some examples:
School supply boxes: 4 for $1 – originally .97 each
Glittery pink folders: 4 @ .35 – originally $1.97 each
Purple thermos: $2.50 – was $4.88
Disney Princess insulated lunch bag: $3 – was $6.34
Elmer’s large glue sticks: (4) 3-packs @ .70 – originally $2.88 each
24-count Crayolas: 5 for $1 – originally .22 each
Cute, candy-themed, wide-ruled notebooks: 3 @ .25 – originally $2.24 each
Elmer’s white school glue, 4-ounce bottles: 10 for $1 – originally .22 each
Pencil sharpeners: 2 for $1 – originally .97 each
Kid’s safety scissors: 2 @ .51 – originally .74 each
I also found brand new Target-brand backpacks, with tags, at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for only $3 each. I bought several girly-looking ones and stuck them in the box. I estimate that I saved close to 70% with this method, and when Bee needed new glue sticks, markers and crayons in the middle of the school year, I didn’t have to go to the store and pay full price for replacements. We just went shopping in the basement.
This year I printed the elementary supply list, organized by grade, off the school website. I went through and compared it to my current inventory, highlighting anything that I’m low on. Last year I made a note of the Wal-Mart location, and the date when I found the lowest clearance sales, so this year I can walk right in and stock up with confidence.
It’s a great, money-saving system. If you have school-age kids, definitely give it a try!
Also, here’s a time-saving tip – if your school requires that all supplies be labeled, just print off a sheet of labels with your child’s name on them (I use the Staples-brand equivalent of Avery 5160, white address labels), and stick them on everything. I did this last year, and the labels looked much neater than my handwriting, and they were durable enough that they lasted all year. I was also spared the exhaustion of writing Bee’s name 30 times over.