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How to Save on School Supplies

It may seem impossible, but you can fill your child's backpack without going broke!


  • Step 1: Stick to your school's list of required supplies. Contact the school if you haven't received one.
  • Step 2: Ask your child's school if they know of any community programs that are distributing free school supplies. Or check for them online.
  • Step 3: Start at the dollar store, where you can almost always find pens, pencils, notebooks, and other items.
  • Step 4: Scour weekly store sale advertisements so you can snap up items you need that fall into their "loss-leader" category – items they sell at a loss each week to lure you into the store.
  • Step 5: Check the web sites of big discount stores before you head out the door; they often have downloadable coupons and deals you can only get online.
  • TIP: Join forces with other parents so you can buy school supplies in bulk and split them.
  • Step 6: Talk to your school principal about the school joining the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources or a similar organization, which collects overstock donations from businesses and redistributes them to nonprofit organizations, like schools.
  • FACT: The average American family with school-age children spends $594.24 on back-to-school purchases.

You Will Need

  • Your child's required school supply list
  • A dollar store
  • Loss leaders
  • Online deals
  • Coupons
  • A recycling nonprofit
  • Bulk buying

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