web analytics

4 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Year-Round

Preschool Crafts Thanksgiving - glendalechildcare.com for Our Ordinary Life - ShutterstockBack-to-school season is quite a ways off, but many classrooms are hurting for supplies right now. Most classrooms run out of their stock of supplies for crafts and hands-on projects by December. When this happens, teachers are forced to either purchase supplies for their classrooms or beg parents to send more with their students.

Here are the most common supplies that classrooms need year-round:

  • Crayons
  • Pens (black or blue ink)
  • Pencils (mechanical and standard)
  • Pencil lead
  • Erasers
  • Colored pencils
  • Whiteboard markers
  • Whiteboard cleaner
  • Waterproof markers
  • Finger paints
  • Wide or college-ruled notebook paper
  • Facial tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Colored paper reams or bulk boxes of letter-sized colored papers
  • Cute craft accessories (eyes, fuzzy balls, felt twines, etc.)

Preschool Craft Supplies - glendalechildcare.com for Our Ordinary Life - ShutterstockThe problem is that all the best deals for purchasing bulk school items are often found between June and August. Naturally, this makes it difficult to afford to restock the supply cabinet halfway through the school year. How can you as a parent help prevent this problem?

The secret is buying in bulk at optimal times and setting aside extras to give back to the classrooms at various points in the year. Here are some tips to get the most value for your money when purchasing school supplies.

  • Plan to purchase clearance items in bulk right after Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and patriotic holidays. You can usually find themed pencils, erasers, paper, and other craft supplies at more than 75 percent off right after these holidays. Save these for the following year and donate to the school before class holiday parties.”
  • Watch for must-have coupons and competitor matching campaigns. You can spend pennies on the most-needed items by shopping smart.
  • Buy back-to-school items in bulk during the June-September sales. Here’s the kicker, though: do NOT give the entire stock to your child’s classroom at the start of fall semester. Save half of it to give to your child’s teacher come the start of spring semester. They will be so grateful to see a post-holiday gift like this!
  • Remember, supplies do not need to be brand-name. Save yourself hundreds of dollars by buying generic pens, pencils, markers, crayons, paints, etc. Your kids don’t know the difference!

What are some money-saving secrets you have for back-to-school supply shopping?

Let us know in the comments!

This post was provided by Valley Child Care & Learning Centers. They are an infant and toddler day care with 10 locations throughout Phoenix, including one in Glendale, AZ. Having school supplies in stock for hands-on learning is very important for our children. Hope you found these money-saving tips helpful!


  1. ricci on May 14, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    These are really great tips!! I just finished school so “back to school” is no where on my radoar right now…LOL!

  2. Eloise on May 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    great tips for helping out the classroom the whole school year, I’ll have to keep this in mind!

  3. aly mashrah on May 13, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    These are all great tips!! We have that problem every single year and although we buy in bulk, we never remember to save them for half-way through the year and end up donating most at the beginning of the year to the teachers. We will have to work on our strategy this time around.

  4. Joann Woolley on May 13, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Oh it is so true – these things can cost way too much if you don’t hit it up at the right time. I will have to remember this and do that when I do my back to school shopping in a few months – buy extras and just hold onto them!

  5. Dogvills on May 11, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    These are great tips. I like to buy in bulks, especially that we have twins.

  6. Liz Mays on May 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I probably could have saved a lot more if I had planned my purchases better. This is great advice. Kids go through a lot of school supplies.

  7. Kelly Hutchinson on May 11, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I am always on the lookout for ways to save money!

  8. William Sweeney on May 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    These are great tips!! With three kids school supply expenses add up fast!!

  9. Paula Schuck on May 11, 2016 at 10:27 am

    These are all great tips for anyone looking to save on school supplies. Buying after holidays is ALWAYS a good idea.

  10. Cyn on May 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Breaking up the supplies into a couple of batches over the year is a great idea! I’m a big fan of finding school supplies in the off season at discount stores.

  11. Jeanette on May 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

    These are all great tips. I would’ve never thought about going right after a holiday and getting the holiday themed stuff. What a great way to save money!

  12. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle on May 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I like to find my back to school supplies online and in bulk. That’s the best way to save for me.