MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may not be thinking about back to school shopping yet, but retailers are: they expect to ring up more than $68 billion in sales this year. It’s the second-biggest retail season annually, behind the end-of-year holiday season. Though it seems early, getting a jump start on your supply shopping could mean bigger savings in the long run.

Connor and Olivia Beecher are excited about the list of treats they’ll get next week when their mom, Karen Beecher, takes them to the movies. They get to go because mom saved money this year on school supplies.

“Saving money on the school supplies makes such a difference in our budget that I’m able to do a lot more stuff with them,” said Beecher.

School supplies in July? It seems early, but if you’ve been shopping recently you may have noticed shelves already dedicated to school supplies. According to local money saving expert Carrie Rocha, this is the best time to buy.

“We don’t want to think about it,” admitted Rocha, “But retailers are offering their deepest discounts those first few weeks after the supplies hit the shelves.”

Rocha has a popular money-saving blog called PocketYourDollars.com. One topic she often blogs about is how to “shop differently.”

“Instead of the big trip where you go with mom and you get everything you need in one swoop, just watch the stores where you’re going to be shopping anyway. Pick up the items that are on sale at a deep discount that week while you’re out,” advised Rocha.

Karen Beecher did that last year and spent a mere $10 total on school supplies for her son. This year, she has two children in school and kept it under $15.

“It’s little bits here and there and as I get coupons and it’s just, it’s made a huge difference in our budget,” said Beecher. “I have been piece-mealing it, but I have only school supply shopped for two weeks this year, and I’m done.”

What about time-starved parents? How are they supposed to make time for multiple trips? Not the case, said Rocha.

“You may think, ugh, I don’t have the time for that! But you know what, it doesn’t have to be something that’s additional that takes hours of time. Just cherry pick the items you see while you’re there.”

It’s all about wiring yourself differently to start early and always be on the lookout.

Check out school shopping deals in ‘The Good Life For Less’ blog.

Comments (3)
  1. mary ann somers says:

    The school supply story was very misleading. I don’t see prices that are any different then last year. If a person is spending $70 per kid that is way to much! Kids don’t need new back packs and lunch pails every year, reuse and recycle! I bought 4 kids all of their school supplies at walmart a few weeks ago for $70! Shop the sales !

  2. tonya says:

    How about school clothes? High school students don’t need much for school supplies.

  3. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

    I stock up on notebooks, glue, crayons and pencils so I don’t have to buy any half way through the year. I even pick up a few notebooks and pens for my hubby and me to use for this and that. At 20cents per notebook at Walmart it’s cheap.

    Good luck everyone.

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