It’s that time of year. The patio furniture is being cleared away to make room for pallets of notebooks and markers. It’s back to school season!

Studies from across the country talk about the average cost of school supplies per child skyrocketing each year. A quick glance at google show numbers ranging from $500-$700! So how is a family with one, two, or more children supposed to collect all those needed supplies? It can definitely be done for less, but it takes a lot of careful planning and a little bit of driving to wrangle them all up.

I have six kids in my home, and while I homeschool we still go through a TON of supplies each year. This past school year left us ending with practically no markers, no notebooks, and no crayons. It’s definitely time to re-stock!

Another good reason to look for deals is so you can help kids in need in the community around you. There are many organizations that accept donated supplies and disperse them to children in financial hardships. Check with your local shelters, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and even your school district. A few years ago I was able to compile enough supplies for 18 students, both elementary and high school, for under $60!

I start by checking the ads each Sunday. I typically find the better deals at the office stores, then I check the discount stores for what I’ve not been able to get elsewhere. Each week the office stores have amazing deals to get you in the door. The certainly get me in, but I don’t usually stay for anything else. I stick to the deals and move on to the next store for their deals.

I’ve even been known to go a few times a week (because of purchase limits) if a deal is just too good to be true. If you are buying for charity, I see no problem with this.

You can even get your kids involved. My oldest children love getting in line to buy folders for a penny, knowing that a child whose family is unable to get to the store for that deal will have folders for school.

The stores I am known to hit up for deals are: Officemax, Office Depot, Target, and Wal-Mart. If you don’t live near one of these stores, don’t make the trek out to a neighboring city, it would probably end up not saving money when you factor in the gas.

I hope I’ve inspired you to not be sad about the end of summer, but looking forward to the excitement of shopping for the fall!