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Where to Find Cheap School Supplies

It’s one thing to say that you can find cheap back-to-school supplies; it’s another to actually buy school supplies while saving money. With thousands of places to buy supplies both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, how do you know where to go to save some money before school starts?

  • Let someone else find the deals. There are many sites dedicated to finding the best deals. Rely on them to do your research. Sites like RetailMeNot list online promotions and coupon codes that can be especially helpful for Internet shopping. For shoppers who prefer brick-and-mortar, sites like CouponMom.com will help you find the best coupons and in-store promotions.

  • Don’t forget the discount rack. Clearance racks aren’t just for clothes. Even office supplies go on clearance — if you know where to look. Usually the clearance section is hidden (especially if you’re shopping online), so check out the smaller links in corners of the Web page or try putting your search engine to work by typing what you need plus the words outlet or clearance. This is especially true for computers, where many manufacturers have a discount section that isn’t advertised from their main page.

  • Get by with help from friends. Shopping in bulk isn’t economical if you really need pencils for only one or two kids. If you team up with your friends, however, you can make use of the savings from bulk supply stores while only ending up with the supplies you can actually use. You don’t even need a warehouse store membership to do this, with stores like DiscountSchoolSupply online.

  • Rely on the kindness of strangers. Don’t have enough friends to make full use of that dozen-box of glue but you couldn’t find crayons on the cheap? Or maybe you have extra coupons for paper but you could use coupons for batteries? Swap sites like SwapMamas have forums where you can list what you don’t need and ask for what you don’t have.

  • Shop around. Most local news organizations (and sometimes national ones) will do a comparison of common stores for school supplies. Even if they don’t, keep an eye out before you actually purchase the supplies and check weekly flyers for local stores. Drugstores are usually the most expensive option (although you can get amazing deals here and there), while dollar stores are one of the cheapest but least utilized vendors.

  • Make friends with the stores. Stores (just like your kids) want you to pay attention to them, and they may reward you if you do. “Like” their pages on Facebook or sign up for their Twitter feeds, and you could get bonus coupons. Frequent shopper programs can also come with great savings.

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