Back-to-School: Saving on Supplies

August 6, 2012


- Time your shopping right
NOW is the time of the year to find the lowest prices on pens, pencils and notebooks and other back-to-school supplies.
For clothing, look for sales on Labor weekend.

-School shopping program: Many schools have school shopping card programs where the school gets discounts - wait until the shopping cards go on sale and school benefits as well - good for snacks for lunches. You should also check for student discounts. Some stores, such as Apple, offer discounts just for students. All it asks for is your name and school you are attending.

- Shop your school supply list from different places: Many school supply lists these days range broader than just pens and pencils - they want cleaning supplies, Kleenex, plastic bags - many things you can find at the Dollar store to save on the generic stuff

- Buy Used: Textbooks are cheaper used and even cheaper when you rent them. According to Kiplinger, sites like, and have lists of the lowest priced, used, new, rental and digital books. Also, a site like Dell's Computer Outlet site will sell a nice refurbished computer at a lower cost.

-Don't take your kids with you: This might sound a little harsh, but shop for essentials by yourself and you'll avoid the BTS "Nag Factor" - kids begging for something they may not need.


A lot of the shopping for Back-to-School is online - get it online without paying sales tax while you can. Plus it can be easier and more efficient to get to your door as long as you get free shipping as many sites now offer.

Use price comparison sites and apps to help you shop. There are a ton of sites that help you to price compare on hundreds of products -, pricegrabber and google product search are a few.

Also, there are many apps out there now that allow you to scan in a bar code of a product from your phone and then tell you where to shop for a cheaper deal. An app like Red Laser shows you cheapest product by proximity. Works on iphone, android and windows phones.

Flash sale sites like Totsy - special sales like Levi, Disney geared towards back to school - with free shipping and deep discounts if your timing is right.

Family Finds - a lot of back to school shopping you might not realize is for experiences - things like classes and extra curricular activities. Family Finds is a local company and offers discounts on classes, parties for your youngster.

Department of Goods - if you don't mind getting last year's style, you can score designer items like North Face and Patagonia off sites like department of goods up to 50 percent off - and I love Overstock for electronics you might need.

Search for a coupon code - sites like Retail Me Not ( have discount codes for thousands of retailers and has great accuracy of codes.


2 Moms Media is a marketing agency that helps brands connect with moms. Sara is also a mom of two school-age boy who watches trends not only for her clients, but for herself.
2 Moms Media

Sara R. Fisher, Co-Founder, was a marketer before she became a mom. A graduate of the Medill Integrated Marketing Communications program, Sara has managed integrated marketing communications campaigns for internet companies, sports teams and Fortune 500 companies. In her time at the world's largest independent public relations firm, Edelman, Sara ran international and cross-functional marketing programs for United Airlines, Toys "R" Us and Johnson & Johnson. But when she became a mom, she found her voice, and started her funny and popular mom blog, Self-Made Mom, which told her tales of trying to balance work and motherhood.

After leaving the corporate world to focus on her children (yes, she did the "mommy track,"), Sara's blog changed focus to parenting in Chicago and she started writing for Chicago Parent magazine, where she's been a contributing writer for the past three years. While scouting out what's hip for the mom, baby and preschooler set in the city, she was able to marry her love of writing with marketing to her mom friends. It was a match made in heaven and 2 Moms Media was born. Sara has a passion for helping brands find their purpose and connect with the right moms.

In her non-existent spare time, Sara can be found in the carpool line, at a Bubbles' crawlers class or aimlessly strolling the aisles of Target pushing the bus cart . She tweets at @selfmademom

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