This little photobomber wanted to pay it foward, too! (Though he calls it "Paw It Forward." Cats like puns.)
(Note: I was not compensated for this post, but Campus Book Rentals did give me the $25 to shop with on the condition that I donate the backpack. I think that's a pretty cool pay it forward initiative on their part!)
It's been a long time since I have had to shop for school supplies and I wasn't sure where to start. Operation Backpack is a great initiative in Houston that collects backpacks and supplies for kiddos whose parents are having trouble affording supplies. I used their supply list as a guide and wanted to get my backpack as close to "full" by their standards as possible. I also wanted everything in my backpack to be cute and match so this little one could start the year with some flair. My other self-imposed criteria was that all coloring supplies had to be Crayola because let's face it, other brands don't compare.
So, with my money in hand I decided to scour the Sunday paper ads. I loved buying school supplies as a kid so having an excuse to buy them now was fun for me. I mean, who can pass up the chance to get things for a penny? This time of year, there are plenty of things to get. I spent about an hour making lists according to stores so it would be easier to compare prices between all the options. I mean, 50 cents for a glue stick sounds like a good deal but then I realized I could get four for a quarter and I was sold!
I thought buying a backpack would be the hardest part, but Walgreens had them on sale for $3.99 so that was my first stop. Using my Balance Rewards membership and the coupons printed in their flyer, I took my total from $23 to $11. Knowing how much I was going to spend before I got to the cash register helped me make sure I got the best deals. Less than half the budget spent and already a backpack and some supplies? The day was off to a great start!
Spent $11.40 but I SAVED $12.55... and the backpack is pretty cute!
My next stop was Office Max, home of the stuff for a penny. I got five folders and a bunch of other stuff for ten cents or a quarter apiece. I spent less than $4 there and got a ton of stuff, including pens for myself that cost $1 (that I of course did not count toward my $25). (Also, have you met me? Did you really think I could face all these school supplies without getting some for myself?)
I spent $2.79 on all this and I saved $11.57! Gotta love a deal!
Target never lets me down, so I went there last. I hadn't budgeted for a lunch box, but I was excited to find a pink insulated lunch bag for less than $4. I was also happy about the $1 purple calculator because it matched my pink and purple theme.
I spent $8.12 on this. The lunch bag and markers were on sale and all of the other school supplies seemed to be specially priced for back to school!
I got home and laid out everything I got. I didn't think it would all fit in the backpack! In total, I spent $22.98 with tax. I had to drop the bag off at my local grocery store anyway, so I checked the list and saw that a combination lock was suggested and I picked one up for $2.48 the day I dropped off the bag. Total spent: $25.46.
The whole haul, minus the lock!
I got a backpack, lunch bag, five folders, five notebooks, a binder, a ruler, two packs of pens, a pack of pencils, a pack of highlighters, a calculator, pencil sharpener, four gluesticks, erasers, index cards, a pencil bag, markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, construction paper, and two packs of notebook paper. Phew!
I loved this challenge! It didn't take much extra time and it was fun for me to see what bargains I could get. Also, who doesn't love doing something nice for someone else?
I bought the lock, put it in the bag, and dropped off the backpack at the grocery store!
About our sponsor: Campus Book Rentals is a company that offers students up to 90% off their textbooks! It not only allows students to save money, it helps students make money by providing services for students to rent out their textbooks to other students. Campus Book Rentals has been around since 2007, and continues to help students live a more affordable life. Campus Book Rentals is proud to sponsor such an amazing pay it forward event! I was still in college in 2007 - how did I miss this? My boss' daughter is still in school so I will definitely share this with her!
Do you love school supplies? Any other couponers out there? Have you had the chance to pay it forward lately?
The backpack was bigger than it seemed so I modeled it for you. Operation Backpack encouraged you to add a letter to your kid, so I did.