Have you stood in the store juggling children and a school supply list from multiple teachers, trying to figure out how many spiral notebooks and what kind of pencils everyone needs? Me too – and I’m done with that nonsense. As if the end of summer vacation wasn’t sad enough, the school supply shopping isn’t as fun as it was when I was a kid, and is a major fun killer.
(There are affiliate links in this post = I make a money when you click or shop at many, but not all, of the links below.)
Tips for making School Supply List Shopping faster (so you can get back to the pool)
Before we get too far, grab all your supply lists (most schools provide these or have them on their websites). Then, download my FREE School Supply List and print yourself a copy (it’s made for 4 students, print more if needed.)
Write each of your student’s names across the top of one column. Then scanning the school’s supply list, mark the quantity and any special instructions next to each item. (If it makes sense for you, you can add a total at the end of the row- this will help later when we go or the bulk specials.) The goal here is to make ONE MASTER SHOPPING LIST! No more juggling papers means shopping will go much faster and be more accurate.
With your master list in hand, it’s time to shop
If you are buying more than 5 of anything, I found I can do better shopping online and sometimes getting bulk prices versus my local stores. Keep in mind though, your local big box stores are doing a great job with low prices on the basics like Crayons and Markers (in fact I stock up for the whole year because buying Crayons at full price in January when they need more, hurts my wallet.)
Before you start shopping online PLEASE PLEASE do yourself a favor and open an Ebates account. This is a no-brainer cash in your pocket, no gimmick, no couponing, way to save when shopping online. Join. Install their link in your browser, and get to shopping! You can thank me later when you start getting cash in the mail. (This is an affiliate link- but I totally LOVE Ebates and use it every time I can. $100 back just this year already.)
Now let’s save on those bulk needs:
*UPDATED: Target is giving a $5 gift card if you order online and pick-up in store. You were going there anyway right?
- Post-it Notes (one of my kids needs 14 packages of these- say WHAT?)
- Pencils (do yourself a favor and get the pre sharpened ones.)
- Notebook Paper
- Binders (This one has some bonuses I need anyway!)
As you get items ordered, cross them off the master School Supply List you created.
Here are a few of my favorite Back to School MUST HAVE items:
- L.L.Bean Classic School Backpack (same one I used in junior and high school – it’s a classic and totally durable).
- Reusable lunch box
- Insulated water bottle
- A great planner (for older students) Franklin Covey will always be my high-school planner sweetheart.
And now you are off to your local store to finish off the rest of your list. Hopefully, you don’t have much left.
To save you time shopping for your school supply list in store:
- Shop at ONE store only (the tiny cash savings of splitting up your list aren’t likely worth your time.)
- Skip the “dollar stores” – Every big box store has school supplies on sale right now, you can’t go wrong at this time of year finding great deals elsewhere.
- Add one or two more to the quantity of pencils, markers, crayons, and notebook paper. Do it now when they are super cheap, you’ll thank me in January.
- Don’t forget to pick up your own back to school supplies. A well stocked “mom station” makes for a smooth year. Check out my list below.
- As soon as you get home LABLE everything with marker or your homemade custom labels and divide into reusable tote bags for each child. Then hide them away until they need to be taken to school otherwise things might start to disappear- fresh pencils are majorly tempting to little fingers.
When your school shopping list is complete check out these helpful tips To start the year off right:
See that wasn’t so bad. Now back to the pool- it’s your day, do it in style!