It's the time of year when a trip to Target means an internal struggle for me.

Part of me is so sad to see the summer fun on clearance, but another part of me is giddy over the rows and rows of unsharpened pencils, pristine composition notebooks, unbroken crayons and shiny new gluesticks that do not yet have that dirty, grimy film on the outside.

It is so easy to get caught up in the allure of all those fabulous school supplies and walk out of the store with an abundance of Crayola products, binders, and looseleaf paper that you don't need. 

Because let's face it. It is hard to walk out empty-handed on a good day. When everything is being offered up for a quarter you just don't stand a chance.

Or do you?
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Here are my tips for not overstocking or overspending on school supplies.

#1 Make a List
So. very. important.  Decide what you'll need, write it down, think it through. 
And then shop around for the deals.

#2 Stagger your Shopping
Stores tend to put a few items on sale each week. Cross items off your shopping list a few at a time as they are marked down.


#3 Do your shopping at Target or Walmart or other stores that have 30 day policies. Basically, if you buy a product and it gets marked down within the next 30 days you can bring in your receipt for a refund of the difference. The benefit to this is that you get all of your supplies before they get picked over. The downside is that you may forget to go back. Decide if it's worth the gamble.

#4 Plan ahead as a time saver: If you find yourself buying the same items year after year, it may be a great timesaver to buy in advance. For example, I always use composition books as writer's notebooks, binders to store each of the completed writing packets, and 3 prong folders as communication books. By buying them now for the following school year, I am able to work on them at school in the spring so they are ready to go before school gets out. Otherwise my house transforms into a summer workshop and makes my hubby crazy.

#5 Use your list to inventory what you have purchased. Staple your receipts directly to it and file it for taxes. This list will also be handy next summer when you hit the stores again.

I created a free printable to help you plan and manage your shopping trip(s). This product was designed as part of my versatile, ink-saving Blackline Design Collection.  

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If you haven't already had a chance to check out my FREE resource, The Ultimate Back-To-School Checklist, I recommend you download it. It is a comprehensive list of supplies that teachers of all grade levels will typically need. Feel free to forward the link to any teachers you feel may benefit.
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For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of:

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