This Lil Piglet

Saving on Back to School Supplies

The days of lunches, chatter of new and old friends and what the hottest new back to school gadget out there is already upon us for some. For the rest of us, we’re already plotting our back to school shopping in waves. As a large family with kids in school, 3 school age and now 4 with our preschooler, we save money where we can to avoid an unnecessary dent in our wallet.  Additional school fees aside, there are a few ways to save with these budget friendly back to school tips.


Budget Friendly School Supplies


  1. Recycle – Every school year end the kids bring back bags of used papers, books and supplies. Why can they not recycle in the bins at school? As annoying as that might be, there are also many gently used or unused school supplies purchased the year before that can be recycled to use again for the new school year.
  2. Make a List – Always make a list before make your back to school purchases. It never fails, without a list overspending is almost guaranteed.
  3. Find a Sale – Watch flyers for upcoming sales on back to school supplies.  If it’s a good sale, purchase generic supplies in larger amounts to use in the future.
  4. Buy in Bulk – With a large family we have to buy in bulk for most things; doing so equals huge savings. Bulk packs are not always cheaper however, calculate the bulk price by item and purchase the bulk pack or individual packs based on the cheaper price. Buying larger packs of supplies also allows you to supply more than one child and fulfill your supply lists with savings.
  5. Swap Supplies – Trade unused school supplies that your kids don’t need for their school supply list with a friends child; between the two, you may be able to supply each others kids to save some money this year.
  6. Buy Quality – Buying the cheapest isn’t always the best way to save. Some cheaper options break easier and cost you more in replacements in the end.
  7. Use as Gifts – School supplies for gifts? I know my girls love getting new papers, markers and other supplies any time of the year, especially in their birthday gift bags or even as stocking stuffers. Not only does it save you money later on school supplies, you’ll also save on gifts in a two-for-one gift idea.
  8. Shop Alone – I would love to experience a back to school shopping trip with my kids where we hit our budget target mark. There’s always a first time, right? Kids are great at distracting you from your plan of sticking to a budget and a list; before you know it, you’ve blown your budget and still haven’t fulfilled your must-have list of supplies. Shop alone to keep to the plan and if you can’t do that, compromise on one thing they can pick for themselves.


Kids are easily reeled in by the bright colours of the newest, usually more expensive, fancier school supplies and although saving is top priority, school supplies should be cheery and fun too. With a plan, a little compromise and budget savvyness you will be able to save some money and keep it fun too.
What ways do you save on back to school supplies?

Photo credit to My Tudut’s via creative commons on Flikr

4 comments on “Saving on Back to School Supplies”

  1. These are great tips! I always try to use as much from last year, as I can the next year. It would be ridiculous to buy ALL new stuff if there’s stuff that’s perfectly fine already lol. And I agree, kids can be a distraction when shopping….oh yes!! haha. Shop alone for sure!! 🙂

  2. The way I save on school supplies is by purchasing the deals in bulk, and buying new school supplies at garage sales. One year I purchased packages and packages of Crayola pencil crayons for only $1 per box!

  3. We recycle as much from the previous year and check out the sales.

  4. Great tips, Stacey! I especially like your #8! I bought a couple of “extra” things that weren’t on my list because I had my 4 year old in tow. She kept adding things to the cart when I wasn’t looking!

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