Close this search box.
school books with an apple on top

Why Back To School Is My Favorite Shopping

Back-to-school shopping is my favorite retail shopping season. Just look at all that yummy paper, bright ink pens, handy glue sticks, and notebooks in all sizes and shades.

Coins spilling out of a jar.

When I was a kid and finally old enough, my mom turned me loose to visit the aisles in the grocery store I liked best. While she completed her shopping list, I didn’t go to the row of toys, the cereal avenue, or even the candy corridor. My homing beacon was set for the stationary section. Even in later years when my peers gravitated to glam make-up, clothing, and perfumes. But I still adored blank books, file folders, notecards, and pens eager to translate my thoughts to ink on paper.

That’s why during the back-to-school season, shopping is positively pleasant. I browse the reams of spiral notebooks in primary colors priced at ten for a dollar. One of my daughters shares my affinity for those inviting blank essay books in their familiar white and black covers.

Think Back To School Savings

Creating a functional budget and sticking to it is good for our financial health. Concurrently, financial freedom expert, Dave Ramsey, notes that buying items on sale that we use often is good for the budget. With this in mind, I purchase those back-to-school shopping supplies from the list the teacher and school send out, looking for color and convenience for our family. Next, I stock up on a few extra deeply discounted products for events and holidays throughout the year.

As the mom of seven, I invited each child to choose a color for the year. For instance, when one child has a blue backpack and notebooks, and another child selects green, it is easy to identify which supplies belong to which student anytime and anywhere. Additionally, a milk crate or similar container large enough to hold everything each child will take to class makes weekday mornings smoother. By checking assignments and placing completed homework into the crate the night before, children easily grab and go the next day.

Not Just For School

This time of year, my back-to-school shopping list goes far beyond thoughts of the first day of class. While price and selection is particularly good, I stock up on back-to-school supplies for:

  • Stocking stuffers for Christmas. Adults like new pens, pencils, and scissors as well as students whose supplies are looking used at the school year’s halfway mark. By the time Christmas arrives, items are lost or broken, spent or nearly used up.
  • Watch the eyes of preschoolers light up when they receive a stocking containing their very own washable markers, pad of multi-colored construction paper, scotch tape, and box of bandaids.
  • For birthday gifts, fill a backpack with a stapler, hole punch, and colored notecards.
  • Adults and kids appreciate gifts consisting of a reusable lunch bag and water bottle, and handy lunch containers.
  • Shiny new notebooks and gel pens are a well-received party favor when you are the party hostess.
  • For a young explorer’s birthday combine a magnifying glass, small notebook, pen, flashlight, and a copy of J. Warner Wallace’s book, Cold Case Christianity for Kids.
  • If you live in a neighborhood where trick-or-treaters will be at your door for Halloween, fill their bags with ten-cent essay books or pencils and pens from one-cent sale packages.
  • Grab a couple backpacks, memory sticks, and small first aid kits as graduation gifts for high schoolers on their way to college.
  • Stores offer an inviting array of dorm supplies for college-bound students. This is the time to pick up matching bed sets, storage containers, and bathroom towels. Freshen up bed and bath at home or give a color-coordinated collection for Christmas.
  • Shop dorm supplies for storage containers, bed and bath sets, and small appliances like microwaves, rice cookers, and air popcorn poppers for wedding and shower gifts.
  • Take advantage of clothing sales for fresh outfits and new styles but hold back from purchasing everything for the whole year. Fill the clothing needs for your student for this season, knowing that holiday specials will be here quickly as well as after Christmas sales.
  • This is a good time to pick up packages of socks.
  • Check shoe stores for sales on footwear.

Where To Back To School Shop

Consider Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Walgreens, and Walmart for deals on pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, glue sticks, and markers. I found the best price for quality notebooks in bulk at Costco. Look for sales on laptops at Costco, Dell, Sam’s Club, and Walmart.

Featuring clothing specials are JC Pennys, Kohls, Lands End, and Macys. Both Pennys and Kohl’s give awards for every dollar spent to use toward future purchases. Target often has the best price on school uniforms. Sporting goods stores like Dick’s fill the racks with athletic apparel. Pick up what you need for your student and buy ahead for upcoming birthdays.

Of course, while back-to-school shopping, I am on the lookout for supplies for my home office. Already I found multi-colored paperclips, a notepad, file folders, and a blank book I can’t wait to fill. All for under $5!

What are your tips for living well? 

Click HERE to receive my FREE guide to simple, easy, and effective family devotions.

Speaking of back-to-school shopping, The Girl Who Wore Freedom is now on ebook!


Meet PeggySue

We’ve heard of soccer moms and stage mothers. I’m a writer who trailers my kids and horses across the nation. My Apple computer, fondly christened MacBeth, is the essential I bring along.