Saving money on school supplies

How planning saves money on supplies

By Tony Statz - Producer

Back to school shopping is a time for parents to pull out their wallets and look for the best deals for supplies their children need.

Metro Detroit mom Melissa Buckles runs a website called "Bargain Shopper Mom" and shares the deals she finds with her readers. She recently told Ruth to the Rescue the first step in the shopping process is getting the list of supplies from your son or daughters school.

"There will be different requirements by different grades, different schools," Buckles said.

She says you need to know exactly what you're shopping for, so you don't waste money on the wrong items.

Then, she advises parents to do a supply inventory at home.

"Are there scissors that can be used again, are there rulers, are there binders?" she said. "There is no need to buy those things again when you have them on hand already."

Her next piece of advice is to combine the lists of all of your children and buy in bulk. This way, they can share everything with each other.

Brand Name vs. No Name

She also recommends that parents consider whether they need the top brand name supplies, or if they could go with the generic or store brand products. For some items, the brand name may be the better choice, but if you do in the other directions the savings can be significant.

"Some people might feel they need the brand name item," Buckles told Ruth to the Rescue. "But if you don't, you could save quite a bit of money, sometimes 60, 70, 80 percent."

Splurge Items Can Be Fun

Buckles likes to allow each of her children to spend a little extra on at least one item. She says that splurge item can help make shopping more fun for the children, and it can also save money in the long run.

"I am a big proponent of having a nice backpack that will last not just one year, but two or three years," she said.

Another recommendation of hers is for parents to search for coupons and try to price match when possible.

More of her tips can be found at

Make Savings A Game

Finally, one more suggestion about to get your older kids involved in school shopping. It can be fun, competitive, and help you save money.

Here's how, give each child a list of items and tell them the person who saves the most money will win a prize. It's a great way to teach them about budgeting, math, and saving money. They can do some of the legwork, running around the store, and you get to count up the savings they find!

Good luck with your back-to-school shopping!

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