I attended a blogger preview event to check out this year’s school supplies at Staples and… wow. Have you seen any ads or commercials for Staples this year? They’ve been using the hashtag #StaplesHasIt. I was really impressed with their selection. It sounds cheesy but if you need it, well, Staples has it. Supplies? Of course. Backpacks and lunchboxes? Yes. Locker decorations? Yep. Uniforms? Oh, yes they do.
Notebook paper, folders with or without brads, six dozen #2 pencils, blunt-tipped scissors (not sharp ones!), exactly 24 crayons, a compass that doesn’t point north – You know what your kid needs. Whether your list is annoyingly specific or you have some flexibility, Staples has all the regular supplies with lots of variations. Okay, they don’t sell the compass from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Backpacks are on sale for the whole “BTS” season. There is a lot of price variety, but all are between 25% and 50% off. I found a lot of cute colorful ones and plenty of other choices too. Staples also has a modest lunch box and bag selection. I’m planning on buying several of these LEGO lunch containers. I may or may not actually use them for food.
On the subject of Legos, I also found a whole display of LEGO supplies. Spirals, folders, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pencil cases…
Staples also has the much-desired monster pencil bags. My daughter spend a lot of time trying to explain one to me before we found them in the store. “Everyone” has them. She “needs” one. I have to admit they are kind of cute.
Don’t forget to put organizing supplies on your list. It’s easy for the first few weeks of school to fly by in a flurry of paperwork. There is a whole aisle dedicated to the Martha Stewart Home Office products. I really like the wall manager. It’s a modular system of marker and cork boards, drawers, pockets and clips. It smartly matches the desk organizers, calendars, file systems, and other office goodies. While browsing the line, I found a printable coupon for 40% off any one Martha Stewart Home Office product (exp. 08/10/13). I recommend using it for one of the smartest back to school purchases you will make: labels. The no-iron clothing labels just stick inside clothes, backpacks and nap mats. Write on them with a permanent marker and they will hang on for up to 20 times through the washing machine.
New for 2013, Staples sells French Toast brand school uniforms, including shoes. They are only available online, but right now you can get $5 off a $25 purchase with promo code 51337. I found them to be similarly priced to anywhere else. I’m not sure, but I believe that uniforms are included in the free shipping for rewards members.
Staples deals for 2013
Back to school savings pass
Pay $10 and receive a savings pass to get 15% off of your purchases through September 21. It can only be used once per day, but it includes everything but ink, furniture, electronics, and a few other things you probably aren’t buying for school anyway. I love that it lasts until after school starts. So when my daughter loses all her pencils after a week or my son’s teachers asks for donations, I can still get them at a discount.
For those – like me – who love to do the math, the pass pays for itself when you’ve bought $67 worth of supplies. (For those who don’t love math, 15% off of $67 is $10 – the price of the pass.) If you only have one kid and you’re really frugal, you might not spend that much. However, you can also “share” your pass with a friend. Shop for supplies with your gal pal or your sister-in-law. Just remember the card can only be used once per day, so you’ll need to check out together and then figure out who owes whom.
And yes, this pass can be used on tax free weekend.
Staples Rewards membership
This isn’t specific for back to school, but it will help you save. Register in store or online for a free rewards membership. This little blue card will earn you 5% back on all purchases. If you are a teacher, you also get an extra 5% back on teaching and art supplies. It never expires and rewards are emailed to you quarterly. Rewards members also get free shipping online with no minimum.
Binder recycling discount
For each old junky binder that you bring into Staples, you’ll receive a coupon for $2 off a shiny new one. There is no limit and you’ll get one coupon per item. Coupons can be used on any binder in the store, whether you need a massive $20 Trapper Keeper (do kids still use these?) or a $3 Avery half-inch one. You do have to use the coupon the same day.
Disclosure: I attended an event that included giveaways. Posting was my own choice.