This post brought to you by White Cloud. All opinions are 100% mine.
Although it may seem that we’re only halfway through summer break, back-to-school shopping is right around the corner. While the words “back to school” might bring a wide grin to your face, you remember visiting five different stores to find the jumbo glue sticks, not the regular glue sticks found in abundance at every store, are specifically listed on the school supply list. To make matters worse, the jumbo glue sticks aren’t on sale so you end up buying two regular glue sticks for 25 cents each instead of one jumbo glue stick for $2.00 and you decide to ignore the $5 in gas it took you to drive all over town on your search. Or perhaps your quest was for the two-pocket folder WITH holes which were nowhere to be found so you finally bought the kind without and punched the holes yourself. All of us have school supply shopping horror stories, but thankfully we have learned a few things from them. Here’s my guide to help you navigate back-to-school shopping with your sanity and budget intact.
Shop The Ads
I am a bargain hunter so I thoroughly enjoy scanning flyers and finding the best deals. Each Sunday (starting in mid-July for back-to-school shopping), I go through the newspaper inserts for Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, Office Depot, Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreen’s to see what’s on sale for the week. Short on time and/or patience? Stick to the front page of each flyer where they typically display the best bargains. This strategy is particularly effective for scoring deals at Staples and Office Depot where they will offer 1¢, 10¢, and 25¢ deals that are only good while supplies last.
Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend
If you aren’t the ad-scouring type and prefer to knock out all your shopping at once, your best bet is to hit the stores on tax-free weekend if you live in a participating state. During tax-free weekend, participating states waive sales tax on school supplies. Rules and dates vary from state-to-state, though most participating states are scheduled for August 2-4 this year. Click here for a list of participating states, tax-free dates, and links for more information. Since you won’t be paying sales tax, this is like getting an automatic 5-10% discount (depending on your state’s sales tax rate). In addition, many stores run special stores during this period to draw you to their store instead of a competitor’s.
Hate scanning ads AND don’t live in a tax-free holiday state? Shop early! The closer to the start of school you get, the harder it will be to find the items you need. Also, once stores put school supplies on sale, they rarely discount them further except for a few special items.
I know there are some of you who are going to resist the shop-early strategy. You’ve been the victim of buying every item on the school supply list only to be met with an entirely different list on the first day of school from your child’s teacher. Or perhaps your school is slow in publishing a supply list and you don’t want to guess. Here are two facts you need to remember when this fear starts to get the better of you. First, though it might be hard for you to predict that a blue 1” binder will be required for music class, you can safely assume that younger students will need crayons, safety scissors, glue sticks, and hand sanitizer. Everyone from 2nd grade up is going to need pencils, paper, and erasers. And all students from elementary to high school are going to need tissues. You won’t be able to guess everything they will need, but you can figure out most of it even without a list. Second, if you snag too many glue sticks when they are on sale for 10¢ a pack, you can keep the extras to use at home for homework, donate them to a charity that provides school supplies to needy children, or combine them with other school supply extras in a basket for teacher as a Christmas, Teacher Appreciation Week, or end-of-year gift.
White Cloud Facial Tissues
When you are out scoring great deals on school supplies, don’t forget to stock up on those tissues. Those of you who volunteer in the classroom know how important tissues are at school, especially when cold and flu season hits. It’s no wonder they show up frequently on school supply lists. And more so than some other items, this is one thing you need just as much at home so you can afford to stock up! I highly recommend choosing White Cloud Facial Tissues. They come in multipacks of three or six so you can easily pick up enough for all of your kids, if you have more than one. Or, you can send one or two for the classroom, one for your child’s desk or locker, and still have a box or two for home.
To help ease the financial burden of back-to-school shopping,White Cloud is even offering a 75¢ off coupon. Visit http://mywhitecloud.com/school-supply-list/ to print the coupon. Look for the special edition White Cloud Children’s Miracle Network boxes and support a worthy charity AND check off an item from your school supply shopping list.
White Cloud is carried exclusively at Walmart. You can use the White Cloud Store Locator tool to see if they are available in your area.