School supplies for next to nothing

Filed under: Life & Style, Day Care & Education, Resources, Shopping

A backpack stuffed with suppliesNeed some pencils for the new school year? How about a ruler? If you've got a cent, you can get them -- at Staples and OfficeMax, respectively, in some areas. Target regularly offers school supplies for next to nothing in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year. (Wanna meet a teacher? Hit Target at 8am on a Sunday in August -- they'll be there stocking up on pencil boxes, crayons, and -- literally -- hundreds of folders for their classrooms.)

As the economy nose dives, parents aren't rushing out to buy brand new supplies when last year's zizzors (as my daughter calls them) work just fine. Retailers are running scared and are offering lots of "loss leaders" -- items priced below their cost -- to get shoppers in the door. This is nothing new, of course -- it happens every year -- but this year retailers are dropping prices even more than usual, even to the point of offering products for free.

Naturally, the stores are hoping you'll buy other, more profitable items while you're there and that's usually the case. Still, if your kid's backpack still holds books and their binders still hold paper, do you really need new ones? Are you buying all new supplies or making do with what you have as much as possible?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.