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Notebook, Notebook, Notebook…

It is that time of year again. The school supplies are calling!

How do you shop for school supplies? Do you take the school recommendation list or do you make your own?

9781721-back-to-school-supplies-isolatedAs a parent with two kids I can say I have done both. When they were starting out I went with the school recommendation list because I thought that was best, but I found that most of the recommended things were not needed and did not get used or that the teacher received too many boxes of Kleenex! I started to make a list with the most commonly used items.

Now that one child is out of college and one is still in I have learned some tricks along the way. My Daughter Sara Kathryn says, “I make my own lists of necessities and do not shop name. There is no point in buying name brands and buying excess because everything usually ends up beat up or lost. I also save a lot of money that I can put to other more important things. I just don’t see the point in spending $2 more on a note book that does not do anything special.”

I agree with her reasoning, granted I think I instilled part of it in her and my son.

Let’s, start with the basics:

Most common supplies for the average student are normally 4 notebooks, 4 binders, stacks of loose leaf paper, highlighters, pens, pencils, a calculator, erasers, markers, colored pencils, and folder. Costs add up fast and before you know it you have spent more than expected.

Everyone works hard for their money and wants to spend it wisely. My tips are easy to implement and will save you money in the end.

1)    Do not buy name brand. You can usually get the same or better quality items for less by shopping store brands.

2)    Shop with a calculator. Compare prices!

One key example of comparing prices is when you buy loose leaf paper.  Staples sells loose leaf paper at different quantities and    prices.

Option 1: 120 pages for $1.00

Option 2: 400 pages for $6.29

When you compare the two options, option 1 comes out ahead. You can get 720 pages for $6.00 by buying the 120 page packages. You will come out 320 pages and .29 cents ahead of what you would have spent on option 2. In many cases there will be enough paper left over for the next year.

3)    Look at the Sunday paper for coupons and the supply deals. The closer it gets to school starting the better the coupons and deals get. Don’t be afraid to be the coupon guru, they truly do save major bucks!

4)    For children who are in grade school it is sometimes best to just go with the standard one notebook and one folder for the first day. Why?  Because the teachers usually have their own supply lists. Go shopping after the first day because the deals will still be running and you will get supplies that will get used and it saves you gas and multiple trips to the supply store.

My daughter advocates these tips and does them herself. She likes saving money and putting it to good use.


These little tips helped me and my kids. Saving money on school supplies is one big Financial Strategy For Life!

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About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and has assisted her clients with their financial planning needs for over 40 years. Have a financial question? ASK SARA!


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