The Queen of Coupons Reigns......


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back to $chool $aving$!!

Some people plan their major shopping events around the seasons of the year or days of the week. And although "Back to School" time is not officially a holiday--it is the second highest grossest sales' event in all shopping-dom. There are just certain things that need to be purchased at this time of year when they are at price-blaster amounts, rather than during the regular purchase year...namely office and school supplies.

With five kids in school, we buy a lot of stuff in August to get them ready to re-enter the land of education. Pencils, scissors, paper, crayons, markers, glue sticks, notebooks, backpacks.... There seems to be piles of stuff when I done buying...and then we get the dreaded list from the teacher and we have to go back and get a bunch more!! Every year is the same scenario--and not once have I ever regretted buying too much, because we seem to go through it. I usually find myself put out a little if I have to buy school supplies during the year at full price!

Case in point--last year I bought at least 100 glue sticks because I needed 80 for my preschool supply. I had 14 kids in preschool last year and glue stick reigns supreme in the cleanliest of adhesives for children that can't spell yet. In April, something happened that doesn't usually catch me off-guard--we ran out of glue sticks! Those little hummers cost at least 80% more in the Spring to replace then they did in the Fall. I spent almost as much getting just enough to get by as I did to stock the drawers for 8 months worth of goods! So just remember to PLAN, PREPARE before you PURCHASE so you don't overpay for your PRODUCTS! I think you would agree, 10cents a glue stick is so much better than 50-75cents a glue stick!

I'm a shopping philanderer. I'm not faithful to any one particular brand or store. If Target has my goods for the same price as Wal-Mart, I choose the less crowded store to shop. But sometimes stores have some smoking sales that I don't frequent, so it's in August and September that I reacquaint myself with Staples and Office Max for selected items. I also have to say that they know that I'm coming...because they have also changed their store policy about their major promotional items. You used to be able to buy a pack of pencils, erasers, or highlighters for a penny. Yep!! Those were the days. People like me--who divvied out pennies to their children and made them stand in line for their 10cents of glory--and hanging our heads in shame now, because the stores now require a $5 minimum purchase to get those beautiful penny finds.

But!! Now I just have to shop with a plan. Staples has multiple discounted items that are at tremendous discount, so I decided to create a $5 game plan that incorporates my needed products with the penny finds. I think that I won't be disappointed in the bargains--because I'll be thanking my planning efforts in April when I still have reserves for finish the school year.

I've been comparing prices on the staple items between most of the major stores. I don't like to buy store brand crayons or markers when I know that I can get Crayola and other well-known brand items at extreme savings. You can sure tell that inflation has hit some industries sooner than others, because I've only found one store that has had Crayola 24 count crayons for a quarter--and there was a limit of four! I remember when I could buy masses of them for less than 19cents a box. They were on "sale" for 40cents this week in one of the circulars, and that was the best price I've seen. Sure--the store brands and RoseArt ones are also featured, but they are the prices now that the Crayola used to be. Oh well. Probably wouldn't hurt to buy some for next school year--like, as in the next of the next, when you find a great deal--since they won't expire or go bad. Just sayin'!

Rite-Aid has a Crayola rebate check program going right now. When you buy $15 on Crayola products, you get a $2 mail-in rebate. Frankly--don't waste the stamp--go on-line and fill in the application and then just wait for the check to come in the mail. You are allowed 2 of those. This was a HUGE savings for me because last week all the Crayola was Buy One, Get One FREE. I was able to get high dollar items for a great deal--I paid for them with my Up-Rewards and I can fill out the application on-line for an additional $4 back. This week they are offering the same program, but now the promotional is Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off. You could also use the coupons for free macaroni and cheese for every 4 items purchased--I saw those coupons hanging by the Crayola products at Fred Meyer.

It looks like the Crayola deal from last week--Buy One, Get One Free--sale is going to reoccur next week at Rite Aid...with the single check rebate program still working through the end of the month. This was a super deal, especially if you had Up-Rewards that you can use to discount it even further.

Using my own tips--I perused the Target ad and started matching up the items that offered gift cards back for certain quantities purchased. I think I came up with a stellar plan in the Suave hair care department. I found Buy One, Get One Free coupons on For every set of 4 twin packs purchased at $3.49 each--you get a $5 off gift card. I'm going to use those gift cards to stock up on Hanes' products (using the in-store coupons found at and also the coupon from the Target Back to School catalog that came in the mail last week--Save $5 on any $50 purchase. And that gift card applies before coupons discounts...making a GrEaT deal in the works--with bonus gift cards at the end of the transaction, as well.

True Savings is all about how you LAYER it!! Make sure that you take advantage of the great back to school discount line-ups. Make sure that you don't forget to look at the stores you wouldn't normally shop for those sales--like Rite-Aid and Walgreens. Wal-Mart no longer holds the monopoly on the best savings in town! You can find a steal of a deal anywhere--if you're looking.

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