Super Coupon Queen, Jill Cataldo of SuperCouponing.com joined me recently to dish the must have back to school supplies every student needs and tips for getting the best deals online!
Candace Rose: With over 77 million children and adults heading back to school soon, when's the best time to start shopping?
Jill Cataldo: "Well, for school supplies, the best time is now. A lot of the school supply deals began about three weeks ago, and one of my favorite strategies is shop those sales. Watch what's on sale each week at your favorite retailer and pick those things up when the prices are low because every year what we see happening is in the week before the kids get ready to go back to school a lot of stores actually raise their prices a little bit because they're going to take advantage of people that waited until the last minute. If you shop a little bit earlier now, you're going to save in the long run versus getting nailed when the prices go back up. And the opposite strategy in my experience is true for clothing. I understand that the kids all want new clothes to go back to school in- I have three kids myself, but what I usually do is buy them a couple of outfits to get ready for back to school and then push the rest of my clothing shopping into September because as soon as we get past Labor Day you're going to see a lot of those prices come down more. Stores are going to be offering coupons for dollars off, percentages off for even bigger savings on the clothes."
Candace Rose: Where are the best deals?
Jill Cataldo: "Well, for the physical supplies themselves, you're going to find them at the office supply stores, the drugstores and things like that. They're what I call the crazy deals- the quarter crayons, penny rulers, and things. But if your kids are a little bit older you're going to see things on lists that they need like graphing calculators or they may want a laptop or a tablet computer. For things like this, I like to head to Ebay. They've got incredible value and selection, and their main Ebay mobile app will bring millions of new and hard to find items right to your fingertips on a smartphone or on a tablet computer. You can even shop from your favorite retailers like Best Buy who have a site within the site, and this brings a lot of new ready to buy items to you at great fixed prices. I think that's really important when we're all on a budget, and it let's you say 'hey, this is what I want to spend for a calculator' versus heading down to the store and saying 'well, this is what they're charging today, and this is what I have to spend."
Candace Rose: What can we do to stretch the life of school supplies?
Jill Cataldo: "Well, again, quality counts. We are going to see some really great bargains out there. Every year I see the five dollar backpacks and I have been tempted and I have bought them. Usually the five dollar backpack does not last all year long. Do you want to replace it all year or do you want to make a little larger investment and get something that will last? I'm always balancing price versus quality. And even for something as simple as a pen, quality is important too. I like the BIC Atlantis ball pens. They feature the easy glide ink system, which is an exclusive ink technology for ultra smooth writing. What kids love about them is their bright colors. They come in all different inks and they're just fun and stylish. It's also a great pen, it's something that's going to last them all year long and it doesn't cost that much more than maybe buying the no name bag of cheap pens that might leak or dry out before the year is over. It's something that will last."
Candace Rose: What are some of the other must have school items?
Jessica Cataldo: "Well, again with the older kids it's back to the gadgets- the laptop cushions, laptop desks, wireless mice. Some kids are requesting voice recorders like an MP3 audio recorder so they can record lectures in class. And another one that's popping up on lists this year which may seem unusual is schools requesting printer paper and printer ink for the classroom because again, they rely on the parents a lot of times to supply the things for the class."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Jill Cataldo: "For more info on everything we talked about today, you can visit SmartCouponing.com."