Behind the Scenes ~ Saving $$ on Supplies

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Not sure if this post will be of help to any of you, but I thought it might be so I decided to write it up. My thoughts were that we homeschoolers use a lot of office type supplies and obviously school supplies, and paying for these adds up! If my experience can help even one of you, it’s worth it to me to write up the post!

I have been a loyal Office Depot shopper for years now and without a doubt shopping with them saves me TONS of money and allows me to be able to order many special homeschooling supplies. I have heard other people who shop exclusively at Staples, or Office Max, but I personally have used Office Depot. What I will recommend is sticking with one office supply store, you will reap the rewards of being a loyal customer, I promise!

Here’s why… (I will be speaking only of OD, although these same things probably apply to the others)

  • Office Depot provides FREE shipping if your order is more than $50 (to most areas). We always wait until we need $50 worth of supplies before we order. AND it is delivered the next day!!! We actually JUST got an order at our door TODAY!
  • Hot Offers (2.15 - 2.21)

  • They have a Worklife Rewards program, that tracks our sales and gives us rewards for the amount we spend each quarter. This is where store-loyalty pays off-we received $69.27 for 2008 in rewards money. These rewards come quarterly in the form of a gift card, I just turn around and type in the code for our next order and it takes that amount off!
  • They track my past purchases in “My Account” on their website so re-ordering things we run out of is VERY easy.
  • They send me valuable coupons in the mail, constantly. I always use a coupon, that usually takes a significant amount off of my purchase. For example, the coupon I just used on my order that arrived today was for $21.55 off of a $100 purchase! That’s a great one! Sometimes we get free gifts (which a few we have actually liked and still use), and other times it is for different percentages off of certain amounts.
  • NO, I do not work for Office Depot-I just really like their store, products, and service!!!

A few of the things I order regularly from Office Depot to help me with homeschooling and more :)

Other School Supplies…

I do a majority of my shopping at Office Depot throughout the year, but I do some major stock-up during Back-To-School shopping time (Jul-Sept). The BEST place I have found for this is Staples, and their 1 cent deals. This is where we get our pencils, folders, binders, and MANY more items for the year. Start watching for these deals to begin in July, and they change them up each week.

I also love Target’s Back-To-School section, which always has some neat items that are hard to find the rest of the year. The best example: our tot trainer scissors, I can’t seem to find them anywhere now, and I got them last year during BTS time at Target!

Dollar Tree has a little school section, with teacher items too, sometimes I hit the jackpot there. If you’ve never found this section at your Dollar Tree, be sure to look for it! The $1 section at Target often rotates out different school items too, always worth walking through, especially at season change times-if you’re lucky enough to hit the half price days!

I also shop at Costco for some of our supplies. The best thing I have found there that are much better priced are: 3 ring binders (I use all sizes of these for organizing many different things), they have a whole aisle of office/school supplies and change them up often. Sometimes you can find GREAT deals there!

What about non-office related supplies?

If we’re shopping for books, the best places I have found are:

The first 2 you are all probably familiar with but just in case you haven’t heard of LES, you should certainly check it out. You have to be a member to shop there, but you will find incredible deals on books you can’t even find elsewhere-they are a wholesale company. My best examples are my science series books, we LOVE these books and I snatch up the sets when they put them on sale (I am talking deep sale, it’s amazing). As for CDB, I shop there a LOT. They do charge shipping but it is always very reasonable. When ordering a book, I will usually check a few sources to get my best price and for me it usually ends up being one of these places.

Honestly, I order just about everything else that is a puzzle, game, toy, etc. from Amazon. I ONLY buy things under their free-shipping option, and always search around for the best price. If I am not ordering online, I will use AC Moore or Michaels (especially for Melissa and Doug Tot School stuff) and get one at a time with their weekly 40% or 50% off coupons. I obviously also stock up on craft/art supplies this way too, saving the bigger ticket items for use with coupons and hitting the moonlight madness sales (usually 25% off your whole purchase) to get the little things. If you don’t already, be sure to get on the mailing list of these stores in your area, that way you’ll get email reminders of the current weekly sales and you can check your ever growing wish list compared to their sales!

If you have some great advice for stocking up on supplies-the cheap way-leave your ideas below in the comments, as I know I am not the only one with a few ideas and I would love to know of even more places the deals are hiding! If you have any questions, leave them below too, I will try my best to answer them!