Don't Waste Your Money: How to save on back-to-school supplies - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: How to save on back-to-school supplies

(Toledo News Now) -

The kids won't like to hear this, but it's already back to school season and stores are rolling out the sales. Before you make your checklist, hear why one shopping expert says you don't want to buy everything right away.

Back to school shopping is changing. With schools going more high-tech, the days of looking for the cheapest loose leaf binders and pencils are fading. School supplies now cost more, but there are new ways to save.

The average family now spends more than $600 a year on back to school, not including a laptop or tablet.

So we went school shopping with blogger Andrea Deckard of SavingsLifestyle, who has three kids in school. She says if you want to save the most, spread your shopping out over several weeks because each week different stores offer different deals. If you do your shopping all at once, you'll save time, but you'll spend a lot more. 

Her first tip: No single store is best for everything. For instance, she loves Staples for its weekly 1 cent sales.

"Every week they always have a few items they advertise that are penny deals. There's pens, index cards, also erasers," said Deckard.

However, she says with other items, Staples can be more expensive. So she hits Walmart for low-priced basics, Target for fashion items, and she shops online for school uniforms.

"You can typically get better deals online. Say your kids need uniforms, Lands' End has some of the best uniforms available, and they always have amazing sales," said Deckard.

What about notebooks? Deckard says cheaper store brands are fine, especially at office supply stores that won't sell junk.

"I am totally fine with the generic items. The only time I will buy a name brand product is when they have coupons available," explained Deckard.

Deckard says one item she will not shop cheap is backpacks, because bargain backpacks may not even make it to Christmas.

"I'm a big proponent of quality over quantity when it comes to backpacks. We have used the same backpack going on five years now," said Deckard.

Another tip? At L.L. Bean, they will replace backpacks for free if they break.

On the other hand, you may not even need a backpack at all this year. The new trend is small gym sacks instead, since kids are carrying fewer big books.

Locker organizers are tempting, but Deckard suggests waiting until you know how much locker space your kids get before buying.

"We actually have notices from teachers at our school that ask us, 'Do not bring us this kind of stuff,' 'cause there's no room," said Deckard.

Finally, Deckard says this is the best time of year - besides Black Friday - to buy a laptop.

"Watch for the different sales at all the stores, specifically the office supply stores, even Amazon. We're going to find some really good prices," she said.

Don't have school age kids? Deckard wants to reminds you that it's still a great time for buying electronics and office supplies.

If you want the best deals on clothing, wait a few more weeks. Fall clothing tends to be at its highest price when it first hits the rack.

So if you can, be patient, that way you don't waste your money.

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