Skip the September rush
“The best time to buy discount school supplies is July and August,” says Aly Bern, who teaches second grade. She checks the flyers from all the big box chains, as well Michael’s and smarter niche stores. She also notes that some stores offer sales in the latter half of September—to get rid of their overstock, so that’s a good time to look too, if you can wait on certain items. Check out our guide to the best time to buy almost anything.
Make it a family affair
“We give parents our school supplies wish list on the last day of school,” says Bern. “My co-teacher and I then have parents bring the supplies in at the beginning of the school year.” For the teachers, that wish list might include communal resources like boxes of tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and extra crayons and markers. But there’s no reason you can’t use the same strategy with family and friends. Make a school supply wish list and send it along to the people in your life; you’d be surprised at how many items Grandpa and Aunt Carole may be willing to contribute.