School supply lists for children, regardless of the age, has expanded from the basics of pencils and paper to much more. When money is tight at home, it can be frustrating to figure out how to obtain all of the required supplies, especially when a family is on a very tight budget.
Treasure Hunt – Find Existing School Supplies at Home
Before heading out to the store, a family should have a treasure hunt to find any school supplies that may already be at the home. This can become a fun activity for the family and everyone can participate. Make sure everyone who is helping with the treasure hunt is given a list with two to five items as well as the quantity needed for each.
Encourage everyone to look around the house and consider all possibilities (i.e. items from previous school year that was not used or rarely used, items purchased in September on clearance, etc.). Put all found items in a sack or box.
Smart Shopping – Best Deals for School Supplies and Stationery
Once a family has determined what is already available on-hand, the next step is to find the best deals for the school supplies that still need to be purchased. Listed below are some ways to find the best deal:
- Check weekly sales ads from all stores that sell needed items (i.e. grocery stores, department stores, pharmacy stores, dollar stores, hardware stores, office supply stores).
- Purchase items when on sale and stock up (hint: many stores such as Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, even Menards will have excellent deals).
- Buy school supplies when the family’s state has a sales tax holiday (remember not all states participate in a sales tax holiday).
- Use store coupons (i.e. Target, Staples, Office Max, etc.).
- Use manufacture’s coupons.
- Combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons.
Get Assistance to Buy School Supplies
No matter how many school supply items are found around the home, families still struggle with purchasing the rest of the required items. For some, it’s a decision between buying school supplies or putting food on the table. In this situation, families can ask the child’s school, church, and/or other community organizations for help. Never be afraid to ask for help.
There are many ways to stay on budget and yet purchase school supplies for children. From having a treasure hunt at home to buying supplies on sale with coupons, school supplies can be obtained and keep a family on a budget. It can become quite an adventure to search for needed items in which the entire family can help with.