I opened up my Sunday paper this past weekend and saw that back to school sales have already begun. Once one store begins to promote these sales, every other store tends to catch on pretty quickly. Over the next few weeks you can expect to see some outrageously good deals on school supplies. Each week several stores will advertise at least one loss leader to draw parents in (such as 1₵ crayons, pencils, pens, glue, etc.). On top of these low prices, some of the office supply stores offer free-after-rebate deals while others offer $X off $XX coupons in the Sunday paper. This is on top of the great sale prices! If you diligently go to a store or two once a week over the next month and a half, your child can be stocked up on school supplies at relatively little cost to you.
But what if you do not have children? You can also take advantage of these great office supply sales. Here are a few ideas on how to do so.
The first obvious way to take advantage of these sales is to stock up on your own office supplies. In addition to the normal school supplies (pencils, erasers, markers, etc.), you can also find good deals on printers, printer cartridges, printer paper (a lot of free-after-rebate deals for these), dry erase board markers/eraser, Post-Its, staplers and staple refills, paper clips, binders…the list goes on.
Craft Room Supplies
Tape (double-sided for scrapbooking, other types to wrap gifts throughout the year), glue, markers, colored pencils, scissors, etc. can all be used in the craft room and now is the time to stock up on these items for the rest of the year. I also like to purchase new notebooks during this time for journaling.
Basket of Goodies for Visiting Children
If you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or other young ones who come to visit, take the time to purchase some crayons, paper, and markers to keep them occupied and happy during visits. Both my grandmother and my mother have little baskets of toys and items in their homes and when the grandchildren and great grandchildren visit they know exactly where to go.
Kitchen Area Supplies
I like to keep binder clips and clothespins to clip shut half-eaten bags of crackers, chocolate chips, and chips. We have a chalkboard in our kitchen, so I use these sales to purchase a new box of chalk. I have found refrigerator magnets for very cheap during this time of year. I also like to keep calculators around the house (one on our coffee table, one in the kitchen drawer, and one in my office—all snagged from conferences to use whenever my mind starts working numbers).
Tools for Organization around the Home
Binders are great items for organization outside of school. I have a home binder, where I keep all of our home documents (closing, refinance documents, appliance pamphlets and warranties, quotes, upgrades) all separated by labeled tabs. I also have a binder of magazine articles I have ripped out to keep, and a binder for recipes that I want to try in the future.
Birthday and Holiday Gifts
You can use this time to purchase cute backpacks, lunch bags, art supplies, fun pencil cases, locker mirrors, stickers, trendy book covers, and other items to give kids for birthday and holiday gifts.
There are many organizations that accept school supply donations this time of year. You will be amazed at what $5 can purchase you, and how many children you can help with this small amount of money. From July 1 – September 15, 2012 you can donate school supplies in Staples stores. Here in Houston, you can donate to the YMCA Backpack operation (drop-off at HEBs, YMCAs, churches, and many other locations) between July 19 and August 12th.