7 Tips to Save on Back to School Supplies

See how I was able to get away with spending only $5 for supplies!

Back to school can be a challenging time for your budget. One of the things I get a thrill from with our budget is trying to challenge our spending and squeeze the most out of every penny.

Honestly, during back to school time, I don't always do a great job in creating a specific budget. These 7 Tips to Save on Back to School Supplies have helped me through the years and will hopefully help to find more wiggle room in your overall budget!

Office Supply Stores

Don't discount the savings that can be had at office supply stores! Office Max and Staples offer many great back to school deals, many being priced at just a penny! While there are usually limits imposed on those penny items, you can still have your family members make a purchase to ensure you have enough items to cover all the kidlets you are shopping for!

Drugstore Shopping

This is a place a lot of people may not even consider. Heck, a lot of people never consider shopping here for everyday items until they learn to play the games of drugstore shopping (check out the CVS Shopping Tips and Walgreens Shopping Tips for more info).

The truth is, when you DO shop the drugstores and receive the loyalty rewards (ECB's, RR's, +UP Rewards, etc), you can in turn use these rewards to buy your back to school items super cheap – if not FREE!

Price Matching

Remember that Walmart, Target and other stores offer price matching. This can be used to your advantage if the lowest price store is out of stock. When that happens, or you simply prefer to shop at a store that offers a price match, take the store ad offering the lowest price into either store and request a price match!

Buy Extras

I can't tell you how many times our boys' school supplies end up getting shared, lost, or just depleted before the end of the year. Buy extras at the back to school prices and store them away. When you need to replenish items at school, you can go to your school supply stockpile and refill at the best price!

This is also a great time (and price) to buy extra items for your Operation Christmas Child boxes and gifts for your sponsored children birthday gifts and Christmas gifts!

Reuse and Repurpose

In looking at our boys' book shelves, I see many items that can be reused for the upcoming school year. Some of these items include:

  • Book Bag
    Both of our boys will be reusing their bags. This will be T's third year for reusing his!
  • Pencil Pouches
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Crayon Boxes
  • Hard Cover Notebooks
  • Erasers
  • Ruler

You get the idea, many items that aren't fragile, get broken easily or you actually *have* remaining at the end of the previous year.

While reusing makes sense on many items, there are a few things that I wouldn't bother with reusing even if they do end up making it back home. A few items on the top of mind include crayons, markers and paper folders. I'm sure you have other items in mind too. Sure, these could technically be reused. But, if I can get them for a penny, I'll just pay for new at that price!

Tax Free Holidays

Many states are offering tax free holidays for back to school shopping. Unfortunately, Ohio doesn't offer this {sad face}. If you are fortunate to be in one of the states that offer this, coordinate your shopping around this day to get the biggest bang for your back to school shopping + savings buck!


Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't suggest hitting the clearance items at the various stores after the Back to School frenzy is over. Many times, the grocery stores and drugstores will offer a greater clearance since they don't have the shelf space to restock the items. You may not see as generous clearance or discount at the big box and office supply stores.

Again, these clearance prices make it even easier to stock up for your own family and for giving back!

Do you have other tips for saving on supplies during Back to School?

More Back to School Savings Tips

Back to Savings on Other Items

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  1. Just an FYI for the office supply stores back-to-school sales: Office Depot does price matching if you bring in the ad but Office Max does not price match any longer.

  2. Office Max will take competitor coupons. I recently used a $10 off $25 Office Depot at Office Max since my local Office Depot went out of business. It is a great deal for ink! Also, I always take my ads to Meijer and get price matching on school supplies!

    1. Melissa, I never tried to do price matching at Meijer but I knew they would price match some general merchandise items. Good to know you’ve tried it so others can at least ask! Awesome :)

  3. When we toured the Crayola Factory years ago I learned that their markers are designed to be re-wetted if they dry out. Just dip them in clean water for a second or two, then put the cap back on for five minutes. Test them and if they’re still dry, do it again. I’ve bought far fewer markers since I realized this!

    1. Karen – WOW, I cannot even count how many times new marker caps have been left off and the markers thrown out…almost makes me ill to think that I could’ve just re-wet them :( But thanks!

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