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Let's be real. Back to school shopping can quickly become an overwhelming task. With supply lists that are over a page long, fashionable first day of school outfits to buy, shoes to find plus a tight deadline to get everything by the first day of school, staying organized is essential.  You can make your back to school shopping a little easier by knowing and using these simple ideas and shortcuts. 

1. Timing Is Essential

To get the most bang for your buck, hit up the school supplies aisle when sales are hot but before everything gets picked over. This might mean an 8 a.m. trip to Target, but hey there are worse ways to start your day, right? Typically you can find good deals in the last few weeks of August, but the best deals happen after Labor Day. At that point, stores want to sell the supplies instead of having to send them back to warehouse and prices will reflect that. Be sure to check out when tax-free weekends happen in your state - that's a key time to buy too! 

2. Recycle And Reuse

Before you start browsing aisles, browse last year’s backpack! Supplies like torn folders and filled notebooks will definitely need replacing, but a barely used bottle of glue or a properly functioning pencil sharpener can make it through another year.

3. Embrace The Online Market Place

The local big box store may have a $0.10 folder deal you can’t pass up, but online market places like Amazon usually have better deals on nearly everything else. Pick up crayons and markers for half the price as in stores and have them delivered to your front door! Plus you can completely avoid the chaos of navigating the crowded aisles and having to fight another parent over the last One Direction folder.

4. Get Creative With Basic Supplies

Cute, patterned or colorful supplies tends to cost a bit more than basic solid color folders and pens. Instead of spending extra cash on the fancy folders, personalize your own with stickers, elaborately drawn patterns or even a vision board. 

5. Buy In Bulk

There is a high likelihood that by the middle of the school year, your child is going to have lost the majority of their pencils and dried out half their markers. Buy in bulk at the beginning of the school year, so when the time comes, you won’t need to make an 8:30 p.m. trip to the store searching for a reasonably priced spiral notebook. Plus the deals on supplies in September are typically the best ones you'll find all year. 

6. Coordinate With Other Parents

If you see there is going to be an awesome deal on glue sticks on a random Tuesday when you’re working and can’t get to the store, call up one of your child classmates parents and see if they’d be willing to coordinate with you. They’ll hit up the glue stick sale on Tuesday for you, and on Saturday you can nab that deal on index cards that they need. Plus it’s a great example of showing your kids how teamwork is essential!

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