It’s that time of year. The patio furniture is being cleared away to make room for pallets of notebooks and markers. It’s back to school season!
Studies from across the country talk about the average cost of school supplies per child skyrocketing each year. A quick glance at Google shows numbers ranging from $500-$700! So how is a family with one, two, or more children supposed to collect all those needed supplies?
There are many organizations that accept donated supplies and disperse them to children in financial hardships. Check with your local shelters, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and even your school district. A few years ago I was able to compile enough supplies for 18 students, both elementary and high school, for under $60!
I start by checking the ads (usually online) each Sunday starting in July until the end of August. I typically find the better deals at the office stores, then I check the discount stores for what I’ve not been able to get elsewhere.
Each week the office stores have amazing deals to get you in the door. These deals usually require a small purchase of around $5. I try to find the best deals on other larger items such as tape, scissors and calculators to meet my minimum purchase. These deals certainly get me in the door, but I stick to the deals and move on to the next store.
Because these deals typically have purchase limits I try to hit as many locations as I’m near during my week. It only takes 5 minutes to run in and out of the store if you know what you are getting. It’s an inconvenience that you will feel good about in the end, trust me!
You can even get your kids involved! My oldest children love getting in line to buy folders for a penny, knowing that a child whose family is unable to get to the store for that deal will have folders for school. We spend time each week talking about disparities in the hope that they become better citizens who are cognizant of the lives of the people around them.
The stores I am known to hit up for deals are: Officemax, Office Depot, Target, and Wal-Mart. By comparing the ads each week you can determine which stores will best offer which items.
Be sure to spread the word! Helping others is infectious, so share your deals online and let others know where to find them as well as where you plan on donating. You could even set up a donation drive at your work or place of worship! Together we can help every child feel prepared and excited for the new school season.
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to become a savvy donator this Fall. Happy deal hunting!