Step 1: Stick to the list. Those cute extras may be fun,but they will drain your wallet fast. Besides, isn't the list the teacher gives you daunting enough? When it comes to choosing the plain folders vs. the ones with the cartoon or T.V character on it, remind the kids that what they like now might not be what they like in a few months...and each blank folder is a canvas for them to decorate.
Step 2: Shop at home first. This year I was lucky enough to save BIG by not having to buy a new backpack or pencil box for my munchkin...but darn near everything else I needed. See what you have left over from last year that is in good condition, or rummage through the home office supplies if you have them. At the end of each school year, clean and stow anything that is reusable for the next year.
Step 3: Check Ad match-Ups for great deals. Find the door buster deals, pair with any coupons you might have, and save big! If you have multiple coupons or if the price is super low on the door busters, you can stock up for next year. Just get the GREAT deal and get out! Don't spend more than you have to, shop around a little. Little Mom on the Prairie offers MANY store match ups every week! We match sale prices to known available coupons for you, all you have to do is shop!
Step 4: Take advantage of state tax holidays. Unfortunately, my state chose not to do this again this year, but many are still having the tax break for school supplies.
Step 5: Know when to be Cheap vs. Frugal. One year I bought my daughter pencils at .25 cents per 25 pk. box. I was so thrilled with the price, I bought 4 boxes, and patted myself on the back. That was easily 2 years worth of pencils for $1.00! The problem? They were very cheaply made, and the lead was crumbly, leading to constantly having to sharpen...we went through all 4 boxes, then had to go out after the sales were over, to buy my daughter some decent ones. Choose the products that look like they are going to last.
This year, I went to 3 stores and spent $30 total, for all of her 4th grade supplies. She started school this past Wednesday, so I didn't have as much time to shop around as y'all...I will keep those ad match-ups coming for you, to help you along!