Deal Diva

Best practices for back-to-school supply shopping

By Tara McAlister

Yes! School starts next month!
Yes! School starts next month! AP

Time to start stocking up on school supplies. Here are the Deal Diva’s top tips for making the most of this shopping season:

Plan it. Visit the school’s website to see what’s required. Some schools have their lists available at stores.

Try to get it done before school starts. While some schools wait until the first week to provide supply lists, you should at least go ahead and get the typical essentials: pens, pencils, note cards and notebook paper.

Buy extra when prices are at their lowest. The need for school supplies lasts nine months, so stock up.

Quality matters. Especially when it comes to two-pocket folders. The paper folders are super cheap but last only a week once they’re stuffed into desks and lockers. Pay more for the plastic ones and buy extra to replace them in a few months. This principle applies to backpacks too.

Price match. This year Staples will offer a 110 percent price guarantee. That means they will match and give an additional discount for any item in a current local sales flyer. The item must be exactly the same.

Donate. Many children start school with very little, so consider dropping off extra supplies at your local school.