Money Talks, So Should You

Spent Mama: Mom's tips for back-to-school savings

Erin Guerrieri
by Erin Guerrieri , Dimespring 30 (@scoutingjoy)

You know that Christmas song that declares “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”?

That plays in my head as I stroll the aisles of back-to-school sales. I’m a big nerd, and the smell of notebook paper, new No. 2 pencils and fresh Keds makes me a very happy camper. (I grew up in the 80’s - new Keds are the hallmark of a new year!).

My kids aren’t old enough to have a traditional school supply list yet so I can’t really justify Trapper Keepers (they’re making a comeback!), but I have found a new way to take advantage of the back-to-school sales so I don’t have to miss out on the fun (or the savings).

Kids go through art supplies like crazy, and this is a great time of year to stock up on all the goodies they love to use and abuse.

Each of my children has a pencil pouch that holds crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. Two or three times a year, when a few straggling crayon nubs are left, I refill it with the stuff I bought at the beginning of the school year. If I buy supplies during back-to-school season, I can get one year’s worth of crayons, markers and pencils for about $5! I also stock up on lots of construction paper and glue sticks, and this year, I’m going to buy several notebooks on sale for my little artists to use as sketch pads.

The notebooks fit nicely in a binder, which works well as a portfolio for a small person’s masterpieces. I’ve also found that school and art supplies make for fun, useful gifts that we give throughout the year. A snazzy pouch with brand new markers and a sketch pad is a great, easy gift that spans ages and genders. I love having a few gift options stored up for last-minute birthday parties or something fun to send to a faraway friend.

READ: Spent Mama: Planning a summer of fun with kids

While I’m skipping about the aisles (“it’s the hap-happiest season of all”), I also grab a few things to round out a general craft box. My obsession with containers is probably worthy of it’s own post, but I think having a container filled with random fabric, glitter, stickers, pipe cleaners and more glitter is a must if you have kids. I’d love to know what kinds of deals you like to snag! What time of year do you stock up on specialty items? Do you love “back to school” as much as me?

Erin Guerrieri, aka Spent Mama, is a mother of four children (all under the age of 5) who blogs regularly about her journey as a mom on a budget. Erin is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.