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Saving Money On School Supplies by Using What You Already Have

August 5, 2012
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When I was growing up, I really loved going shopping for school supplies. But my brother is considerably older than me so my Mom only needed to by supplies for 1 kid at a time.

I have 3 boys that I have to shop for. Didn’t they want to go shopping for new supplies?  Actually, no! I’ve already been reminding them for the last couple of weeks that we would be working on this project together soon and they were totally okay with it.

For some reason, we believe everything that we see on TV.  The commercials tell us we have to buy all new clothes and supplies, so we do.  Last year I read an article that blew me away.  I wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I don’t recall.  The article was about saving money on school supplies by using up what you have at home.

If you have supplies at home, why waste money by going and buying all new supplies.  When the sales are great, I often stock up on notebooks, pencils, crayons, etc.  But this year, I didn’t even have to use up any of our new stash.  So what if the pencils weren’t completely new, most of them were barely used.

Why add to the landfills when we can be green by reusing what we have.

Here are my youngest two organizing their rooms:

And here’s what we gathered:

I know that there are some programs at the schools where at the end of the year left over school supplies are collected and sent overseas, etc.  But having 3 kids with my oldest going to 8th grade and youngest into 2nd.  I have accumulated a lot of supplies.  So today was spent getting the kids drawers and closets organized and gathering up all of their supplies.

You might think that oh man, spending the day organizing the rooms just to save money on supplies?  No way.  But I try and have the boys get everything reorganized every 6 months or so anyway, so it really was no extra work.  And now I have a dedicated space where all school supplies go.

I just spend over $800 on school fees (public school).  So it was nice being able to complete 90% of the shopping on our school list from what we have at home.  The only things I still need to pick up are a few binders and paper towels, wet wipes, tissue paper and a usb drive.

I feel the same way about clothes too and have really bought anything for the boys for the school year.  I have some things that are still in great condition from last year, I have had some hand me downs from my SIL and I’ve purchase a bunch of new and like new items from thrift stores. All brand name stuff from the Gap, Old Navy, Nautica and Target for pennies on the dollar.  Can’t be that.

Hope you find this useful and if you have any other ideas for saving money on school supplies, I’d love to hear from you.  Thanks so much for stopping by.

Today I’m linking up with Life As Mom, Nifty Thrifty Things, Debt Free Mommy, Still Being Molly, Cheeky Bums, Bits of Splendor, I Heart Nap Time, Crafty Texas Girls, Home Stories A to Z, Rae Gun Ramblings and Homemaker on a Dime.



  1. this is a really smart idea. i feel like my house is swimming in unsharpened pencils. and every year, i buy new scissors, but they never seem to make it home at the end of the year. i really should shop our house this year! thanks for the tips!

    1. You should definitely do it. I should take a photo of all the markers, scissors and other stuff that I still have left over. I might have next year’s supplies covered too! LOL

      BTW, love your blog..i just subscribed via Google Reader.

  2. I love that you’re using school supplies you already have instead of buying new stuff. So eco-friendly! 🙂

    -Mary @ stylethatmoves.blogspot.com

  3. We did the same for a lot of things, gathered what we could and then shopped for what we didn’t have. It also helps to wait till after the first day and get what the teacher’s ask for, some of them are pretty specific like 1 1/2 inch white binder for science, so you don’t wind up with stuff you didn’t really need and still have to buy more.

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