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How to save money on school supplies before the return to class

Local experts weigh in on school supply savings tips
school supplies
Posted at 7:16 AM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 09:16:43-04

DENVER — It's that time again to start purchasing school supplies for the kiddos.

According to the National Retail Federation, more and more shoppers have been looking for school supplies earlier than usual.

A Consumer Pulse survey out by KPMG shows parents are likely to spend more on school supplies this year.

A shopper's first impulse may be to buy everything at once and get it over with.

"That does save time and maybe your sanity," said Laura Daily, publisher of Mile High On The Cheap. "It certainly won't save you money, though."

Daily said patience is key to savings.

"I think a parent can save probably up to 50%," she said.

First and foremost, Daily said to shop your home before even thinking about heading to the store.

"A lot of us worked from home last year. The kids stayed home," Daily explained. "The first thing you can do is start looking around the house and looking at what you have. You may be surprised."

Probably the most obvious tip: Don't buy everything at once. Daily recommended watching for sales at a variety of stores, whether it be newspaper clippings or on the internet. When you do find that deal, Daily said to not impulse buy once you're in the store. That's exactly what retailers want you to do.

"We make a beeline for the crayons... we buy the crayons and we leave the store... so we’re not tempted to buy anything else," Daily said.

Also, dollar stores are not always the best deal when it comes to school supplies. You can find items at major retailers for less than a buck. You shouldn't count out office supply stores either.

"They want to get in the game. They want to get you back into the store," Daily said.

Denver7 also got expert perspective from 20-year veteran teacher Brian Sachs. He's a fifth grade teacher in the Cherry Creek School District. His favorite piece of advice is to turn something cheap into something personal.

"Get a folder that’s a little bit less expensive," Sachs explained. "Have them [your kids] personalize it. Get those pom poms, stickers, even paper clips that you can bend. Let them personalize their own things."

Sachs also said it's OK if a student doesn't show up with every single school supply on the list on the first day of school. Supplies could really go for cheap a few weeks into the school year.

Buying in bulk at Sam's Club or Costco can be a good option too if you pool your money with several other parents.