365 Frugality Tips: Back-to-School Shop All Year Long

January 4, 2013
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Day 4: Year of Renewed Frugality

Earlier this week, I came home from Staples with four new binders for my daughters to use in high school. No, they don’t have some crazy requirements that ask them to buy new school supplies in the middle of the year. Rather, Staples was offering 100 percent rewards back on binders, meaning that, after I get my rewards check, those binders will have been free.

You see, my approach to frugal living isn’t about following set shopping calendars to get what I need. I save money for my family by buying what they need when it is the cheapest to do so.

You may recall that this past summer, I bought school supplies in dribs and drabs, whenever I found penny deals. Anytime during the year, if I find spiral notebooks for a few dimes in the supermarket, I’ll pick them up for my girls to take with them back to school next fall. We keep all of our school supplies in the same cabinet so my girls know where to go when they need a new notebook or package of pencils.

Of course, whenever possible I’ll use coupons or rewards checks to offset my year-round back-to-school shopping. Take that recent trip to Staples to buy binders. Each binder cost $7.99, so let’s call that $8. I was limited to four binders in order to get 100 percent back in Staples Rewards. So that meant I had to spend about $32 in order to get $32 back. But here’s the best part: I’d collected $22 worth of Staples Rewards checks, which I applied to my purchasing–meaning I spent only $10 out of pocket, and now I’ll get $32 back.

Bottom line: if you have kids in school and you’re trying to live frugally, think about stocking up on those school supplies all year long and whenever you can get them for the least amount of money possible.

So I bought binders in January. When during the off-season have you purchased school supplies–and what did you get, and how much did you save?

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One Response to 365 Frugality Tips: Back-to-School Shop All Year Long

  1. Shannon on January 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I love those Staples deals as well as those at Office Depot! I usually try to take advantage of as many deals as I can. What I don’t need, I donate.

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