Skip the sales tax holiday mayhem, parents!


It’s back to school time…almost. Don’t throw things at me. You know it’s true. I’m not waiting for the sales tax holiday, though. Large crowds of shoppers make me nervous. Here are a few simple (very simple) tips for getting school supplies for your student.

Take note ~ This post on school supplies is mostly about the simple ones: the notebooks, pencils, markers, kid scissors, etc. We’re still in elementary school here and not yet having to buy big time tech stuff, or even calculators. For those, you might actually wanna wait for your state’s sales tax holiday (or see #6).

Take note again: Make sure you have your child’s school supply list screen shotted on your phone, or tucked away in a document on app for accessibility anytime, anyplace. Such sanity saved.

School Supply Shopping Tips


1. Shop now. Basic elementary school supplies like spiral notebooks, erasers, pencils, and journals are on display—lined up for you in the aisles at stores everywhere. It’s almost as if the sales tax holiday were already here. Last week, I saw spiral notebooks in a rainbow of colors for 17¢. I think I remember those notebooks being 11¢ closer to school, but is waiting to save on sales tax worth it for 6 cents per notebook? Even if I bought 10 (because I’m addicted) that would only be a savings of 60 cents + any tax you wouldn’t have to pay on the sales tax holiday (I’m not going to do that much math). 60ish cents is like, 1/8 the cost of cold brew coffee at Starbucks, so there ya go.


2. Shop at thrift stores that support charities. You’ll want to check with the stores in your area, but the local charity thrift store in my town doesn’t charge sales tax, and neither do lots of others. Every day is sales tax free day! Every day is sales tax free day! You don’t pay sales tax! You don’t pay sales tax! Inexpensive clothes All. The. Time. No holiday required.


3. Grab supplies as you go. When you’re out on regular errands, take a look at the list and grab a few things out of a store bin.


School supplies made simple 2016


4. Run with the normal weekly newspaper ads. Out on Sunday? Grab the sales flyer and shop for the school supplies you need. You’ll be saving some money, at least. Ditto for the ads that go out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


5. Designate and label one box for all the school supplies for the people in your household. The minute you get home with your treasures, I mean the very minute…get out a Sharpie and write the corresponding child’s name on the items. Drop those items in that one designated box and threaten the life of anyone who digs into that box for “just an extra eraser.” The box is sacred, people. Treat it thus.


6. Buy plain. Bulky items like backpacks and lunch boxes don’t need to be fancy; they need to be functional. Club stores and large retailers stock plain color backpacks year ’round. I do advocate spending a little more money to buy a backpack with sturdy zippers and plenty of pockets.


7. Shop online. Ahem…for bigger ticket items, remember that depending on several factors, you might pay less for online purchases. I’m a little hesitant (and ducking here) to bring attention to this, but as a person who REGULARLY AND ON PURPOSE SPENDS MONEY LOCALLY, it makes me do a happy dance. There are possible shipping costs and minimum purchases to consider, as well as the inconvenience and additional cost of sometimes having to return items purchased online—all of which makes for balanced fairness and competitiveness when it comes to online vs. local shopping (in my opinion).

photo credit (pencils in a glass), Pixabay. it’s artwork, isn’t it?