Do you plan to buy back to school supplies at your local dollar store? My feeling is back to school supplies do not need to be high quality, with the exception of a sturdy backpack. Pens, pencils, and lunch boxes will disappear like that, so why invest a lot in them?
I’ve seen notebooks, pencils, loose paper, pens, folders, and pen/pencil cases for $1 each at the Dollar Tree. And the latest 99 Cent Only Stores ad (locations in CA, AZ, NV, and TX) advertises the following items for $1 each:
- 12-pack of Paper Mate pens
- 5-pack of mechanical pencils
- 8-pack colored pencils
- 12-pack of crayons
- combination lock (often needed for P.E.)
- calculator or scissors
- black board, calender dry erase board, cork board, or fabric push pin board (may be too small to be useful)
- backpacks (I can only imagine the quality of a $.99 backpack)
As strange as it may seem, many of the mainstream office supply chain stores, like Staples and Office Depot, have even better back to school prices – often items are free, $.01, $.05, or $.25. I’ve been watching the prices and blogging about them for WalletPop (see previous link) so paying $.99 for some of these items is actually not as good a deal as it may seem.
If your student is a bit older, make sure to read my post on going back to college money-savers. Put your student in charge of the budget to teach them about prioritizing purchases, finding good deals, and waiting for prices to drop.
How much are you willing to pay for back to school supplies?