Monday, August 03, 2009

Save money on school supplies

August is upon us which means that the school year is fast approaching, too fast. Sunday ads are full of back-to-school items, low cost paper, pencils, folders and the like. When I start spotting these ads this time of year I know it is time to take inventory of the school supplies I have on hand before I go out and buy more. It doesn't matter how low the advertised price is, if I have it on hand I don't need to buy it.

First I check my school supplies cupboard for extras still in there from last year. I still have some spiral notebooks and some binder paper from two years ago as well as two boxes of printer paper. A good start.

Next I check through the various pen/pencil storage containers sprinkled throughout the house: the mug by the telephone, the #10 can on the computer desk, the junk drawer and under the kids beds. Of course there are plenty of pencils, pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils to be found in there but do they work? Do they have erasers? Do they have ink? Do they need to be sharpened? I take my time and test them all out, throw out the dried up pens and markers and teeny tiny crayon stubs. Usually I can find at least enough pencils and pens to meet the supply list requirement. And if they are missing erasers I pick up a few pencil top erasers or throw in an extra pink pet eraser.

Some other places I like to look for spare school supplies are in the kids backpacks from last year. Inevitably it is stuffed into the back of their closet or under their bed and still contains a treasure trove of quickly forgotten school supply goodies left over from the last few days of school. Is last years binder in there? Is it still usable but ugly? Think about putting a cool binder cover over it to spruce it up. Are there some unused or lightly used spiral notebooks? Tear out the used pages and it's as good as new. What about a calculator or ruler or scissors?

I haven't found a glue stick anywhere this year-I put it on my list. Both my boys need scientific calculators and I'm not willing to give up mine-I put it on my list. I have crayon stubs coming out my ears but their stubs and scrubby-I put it on my list. All but a few markers are dried up-I put it on my list.

I headed over to Walmart first because they have a great advertised sale going on right now. Two Elmers glue sticks for 25 cents. Regular Elmers glue for 25 cents. Casio Scientific Calculators for $8.88. Twenty-four crayola crayon pack for 25 cents. Crayola markers for $1. Because there were only a few things on my school shopping list, things I hadn't found around the house already, I was able to stock up on the sale items. 10 boxes each of crayons and glue sticks and markers, 2 calculators, 2 packs of pencil top erasers and some colored pencils and 2 sets of scissors for good measure.

After all these great savings I was also able to get myself something special. Something I've been wanting for a very long time. An electric pencil sharpener. It'll make quick work of all the pencils I found lying around the house. We'll be ready for school in no time!

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