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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

How to find back-to-school bargains



mom_schoolsupplies1.jpgI have to confess I'm a bad bargain shopper. I'm guilty of waiting till the last minute, grabbing what I need and not bothering to spend too much energy pouring over sales circulars or hunting across several stores to find the bargain. Luckily, I have fellow mom blogger Sherry Robinson, the ultimate bargain diva, nagging me to helping me to find better deals.

Like a lot of parents, I'm bracing for how budget cuts will affect our schools this year. Our teachers are doing their best to keep their class supply lists minimal and affordable but they also have wish lists that sadden because it includes basics like copy paper. Copy paper! Teachers have the very real worry that they won't be able to make copies for their class because that budget got slashed again.

So I asked Sherry to share some of her best school supply bargain ideas, in hopes that we can do more with less. As expected, her ideas were brilliant and I share them with you here:

• Florida reinstates its back-to-school sales tax holiday on Aug. 13-15. There will be no sales tax for books, clothing and footwear that are $50 or less or for school supplies that cost $10 or less.

• Buy what you need now but around Labor Day, supplies are often sold at deep discounts when stores tear down back-to-school displays. This is a great time to snap up extra notebook paper, pencils and folders for pennies.
• Craft stores often have close-out sales after school has started. This is a good way to stock up on poster board that will be needed later in the year for school projects.
• Think outside the big box store. Your supermarket tries to get on the back-to-school train, so see whether it has any deals. After school starts, look for pens, markers and other supplies that are put on the close-out rack as inventories are trimmed.
• Look through Sunday newspaper sales circulars. Good deals are always tucked inside.
• Online shopping can yield bargains, in many cases with no sales tax. Many offer free shipping now.

Need more? Check out consumer reporter Ivan Penn's tips on saving money on expensive school supplies. And for all your back-to-school needs, check out this special report from the Times, and Things to Do.

~ Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Sherry Robinson 

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[Times files]

[Last modified: Friday, July 30, 2010 2:14pm]


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