Here’s the Deal: How to Save on School Supplies

Back-to-School Supplies©2009 Jupiterimages CorporationOn schoolpack.com, parents can purchase individual items or prepackaged kits for all grades.

Now that my son is getting ready for first grade, I asked a friend where she shops for school supplies. For price and convenience, she had a quick answer: schoolpak.com. Parents can purchase individual items or prepackaged kits for all grades. The Generic Elementary School-Pak for first through fifth graders, for example, is $23.28. (Teachers can also e-mail their grade’s or school’s entire list for a quote on custom­ized kits. Shipping is free for 75 or more kits.)

  • Shop where teachers shop
    Teachers rave about educationalwarehouse.com for its learning tools and games—everything from puzzles and puppets to software and stickers. Classroomdirect.com has great prices on over 10,000 products and a clearance corner offering even deeper discounts.
  • Pick your lunch box
    The second-most-difficult back-to-school decision, right after what to wear on the first day, is what kind of lunch box to buy. Jonas Brothers or Hannah Montana? Ariel or Elmo? Your kids can browse at their (and your) leisure at platesplus4kids.com and lunchboxes.com.
  • Trade in sports gear
    My garage is a tangle of bikes and balls, cleats and clubs, so I was excited to find playitagainsports.com, a company that resells quality, name-brand sporting equipment. You’ll have to visit one of its 320 stores, located in 46 states and the District of Columbia. If you want to trade in your gear for cash or store credit, a sales associate will consider its condition, brand, and the store’s current inventory. Even if you have no trade-ins, you’ll save 50 percent buying used instead of new.

3 Sites for Savings

  • feedthepig.org Calculate the savings if your kids (and you) stopped buying lunch out every day and brown-bagged it.
  • goodshop.com Support your favorite charity or school by shopping at more than 1,000 participating retailers. Up to 30 percent of every purchase is donated. And you’ll find hundreds of deals and coupons.
  • taxadmin.org Click on 2009 State Sales Tax Holidays to see if your state has scheduled a tax-free shopping day. Check what’s included before heading to the store.

Next: How to Buy the Most Efficient Printer

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