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Sunday, July 25, 2010
BaCk 2 ScHoOL
If you've looked at your ads today, you may have noticed a theme in the things that are on sale right now...school supplies. I am a bargain shopper--year-round. When I see rulers, erasers, and notebook for less than 10 cents each--NOW is a good time to stock up. As much as I hate it, now is the perfect time to teach my kids the value of what you can get for a dollar; and in my case, 5 kids equals $5 worth of spendings for $100s in savings. Most people excuse what they spend based on expediency. They just go to Wal-Mart or Staples and buy all their supplies in one go. But if you start watching the ads from the beginning of July till the first of September, every store has selected items that they put on sale every week that is considered their "loss leader". A loss leader is the product they are giving away or reduced to such a low price that they are not making any money on it. In fishing, we would call this the bait. But if you are a bargain shopper and willing to shop at multiple stores, you take the bait and as many kids as you have--and go shopping. Packs of pencils for a penny, notebooks for 8 cents, folders for 9 cents, rulers for 5 cents....the savings is tremendous and worth a little homework.
I teach preschool and stock my supplies right now for the whole school year. Last year, some of the markers started losing their mo-jo in April. I thought I could hit the local Wal-Mart and buy a few packages to get to the end of the year. YIKES!! The same markers that I had purchased in August for less than 50 cents a box--were now no less than $2 a box, on sale. I have such an intolerance for paying full price for anything, but when it's still four times the amount I paid on sale in August...I have a mental revolt. So I'm going to make sure that this year I have over and beyond what I need to get through the school year so I won't have an anxiety attack come springtime.
I found a new link this morning that I think is wonderful to look at if you don't carry the Sunday paper. It's http://www.shoplocal.com/. It has several of the local stores and their ads all at one viewing. I noticed that a couple of stores are missing, but no worries--I can navigate their websites by putting their names in with a dot com after it, usually. Buyer beware: lots of people see the same ads and have some method in their madness, so don't wait till Friday or Saturday and think that you will get all the items you want in stock. Most loss leader products are going to be sold out early in the week and most stores won't issue rain checks on promotional items. It doesn't hurt to ask if there will be secondary shipments though.
Save, Save, Save. It pays to pay attention. One of the office stores was offering a rebate for the price of the backpack! In layman terms, that equals free backpack (limit one per household). Buy $20 backpack, and get a $20 gift card. Suggestion: use the gift card to pay for the school supplies that are also on sale. Whatever you don't use on the card, can be used next week, and the week after for all the other things that are going on sale. Good luck and happy shopping.