2013-09-02T08_16_38

How to Handle the Back to School Educational Supplies Marketing Blitz

Every year at the end of the summer parents and the suppliers of educational consumables brace themselves for the back to school marketing barrage. There will be print, television, radio, and online advertising. Everyone either at school, with school age children, or otherwise maintaining a degree of interest in the world, will know that this is the time to stock up on paper, pens, calculators, laptops, and everything that could possibly help with school work during the year to come. Some schools will even help by supplying students and their parents with a list of necessities. If you are not careful this can be a time when your family budget will suffer and you will become the proud possessor of more sheets of pre-punched lined paper than you know what to do with. Here is my advice on how to handle this aspect of the ritual of the late summer and fall.

First of all take an hour or two to get organized. Are all your stationary supplies in a logical place where they can be found by your children when a long postponed assignment is due the following day? A good place to stow your school supplies is a cupboard in the vicinity of the children's work area. Of course, this may not be possible in many households where the kitchen table doubles as a study for everybody, not just the children. If this is the case for you, a large plastic box is a good alternative. If you have one place to put everything, and stick to storing everything in that one place only, you will have fewer problems with missing scissors, glue, vital colored pens, and so on.

Now that you have everything in one place, take inventory. If you have been supplied by a list of needed consumables by a school you can compare your list with the items you already possess. The objective is not to deprive the stationary manufacturers and retailers of their seasonal bounty, but to target your investments where they are actually needed. Every student and parent has been in the situation of having plenty of paper but not enough printer ink, or vice versa, and now is the time to plan your purchases and needed quantities.

Once you have your list, take a moment to do some price comparisons. The best place to do this is online. You will find that during the late summer every store has a range of offers, but that overall, some stores are better places to shop than others. By doing some price comparisons online, particularly for larger purchases like calculators or computers, you will save yourself time and money. You can also save yourself time and gas if you decide to simply purchase online.

Comparison shopping and buying online, organizing your existing supplies, and planning targeted purchases ahead of time, will make stocking up for the school year a pleasure rather than a chore. Additionally, if you avoid unnecessary trips and unneeded purchases you will be saving yourself money and helping to conserve the planet's resources, both of which are important these days.

So restocking your stationary supplies for the school year need not be a chore. With a little forethought you can make this an interesting family organizational project that everyone in the family can engage in and get excited about. You will be starting the year with just the right supplies in stock and with a family jazzed about the projects and activities that they are going to take on.

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