Coupon Queen: Back-to-school presents shopping opportunities

It’s that time of year again when everyone from school-age children to the college-bound are shopping for school supplies.

If you’ve got kids headed back to school, you’ve likely already noticed all of the sales going on – everything from pencils to scissors to notebooks are on sale.

Supplies aren’t the only deals in town, either, as department stores are ramping up discounts on clothing, shoes, backpacks and bags.

Whether or not you’re getting kids ready for school, you can take advantage of these sales, because for many items, we’re seeing the lowest prices we will likely see all year long.

Each year, I utilize back-to-school sales not only to purchase the supplies my children need for school, but also to re-stock office supplies that we use regularly in our home.

It’s likely that you use adhesive tape, notebooks, pens and pencils year-round at home.

Why not purchase them when stores are having penny, dime or quarter sales on many of these items?

How about scissors, glue sticks, adhesive notepads, staples, rubber bands, paper clips or rulers?

If you have a home office, you may want to pick up 3-ring binders, tab dividers, folders, page protectors and envelopes, too.

If you’ve got a computer printer, look for deals on white printer paper, as many stores have good prices on this right now.

I recently saw a sale on reams of paper priced at $6, Buy One Get Two Free. I didn’t miss this opportunity to stock up – at just $2 a ream, I bought nine reams! For less than $20, I should be well-stocked for many months.

Don’t forget to look for coupons, too!

The coupon inserts in the newspaper have had offers for everything from pens to spiral notebooks over the past few weeks, and anytime you can pair a coupon with a great sale price, you’ll save even more.

You may even find great deals on less traditional supplies as well.

My children’s school supply lists request several canisters of disinfecting wipes.

My local supermarket had wipes on sale for 99 cents, and the newspaper had a $1-off-2 coupon for the same brand. I was able to purchase these for just 49 cents per canister!

I’ve also noticed that many of the big-chain department stores have amped up their coupon offers to celebrate the back-to-school season.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten coupons for 25 percent off, $10 off a $30 purchase and 30 percent off one clothing item.

Even if you’re not specifically shopping for school clothes, discounts like these are great to use on any purchase of clothing or shoes.

I especially like to look for deals on athletic shoes at this time of year, because my sons grow so quickly that sometimes they need new shoes during the middle of the school year, when sales might not be as prevalent.

A local store had a “Buy One Get One 50 Percent Off” shoe sale, which allowed me to purchase two pairs of sneakers for each of my boys – one in the size they currently needed, and one pair in the next size up for each of them.

This way, I’m not forced to pay full price in the absence of a good sale if someone outgrows their gym shoes in January.

If you’re shopping for a new backpack for your child, you may be tempted by plentiful sales on backpacks in the $3 to $5 range.

However, while I love scoring super bargains on school supplies, I have learned over the years that there is often a vast difference in quality between a $5 backpack and a $35 backpack.

After repeatedly replacing cheap backpacks just a few months after purchase, year after year, we purchased backpacks with lifetime warranties for our children.

There are several manufacturers that offer to repair or replace any worn, torn or split backpacks, and experience has shown us that these backpacks are also better built.

You may find that backpacks are one item worth spending a little more on initially for the continued durability and dependability they provide