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Reader Tip: Back-to-School Shopping

Holle emailed in this helpful reminder for those of you who are doing lots of back-to-school shopping:

Just wanted to share how I’ve gotten great deals at back-to-school time even when it appears the items are sold out.

Usually all the back-to-school deals are in a central location in the store. So, if you’re looking for the $0.15 crayons, you go to the back-to-school department first. But, those $0.15 crayons will also be in the usual crayon location. So when the bin is empty in the back-to-school department, go to the art section and pick up a couple boxes. When I’ve done this, the item’s usual location hasn’t usually been marked with the back-to-school sale price, but it rings up at the sale price.

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  • Deb says:

    I was at Walgreens getting the pens last week and they had them in FOUR different locations. The first three were out, but the last one actually had them. I had to be directed to the locations as they were not logical, but I did get the pens and highlighters for FREE, so it was worth it.

  • Thanks for the heads up! Getting ready to hit the stores for our back to school shopping on Monday. tips like this are just what I need! I really appreciate how much you share with all of us!!!

  • jan says:

    also- ask someone! at Walgreens they had more in the back

  • Rachel says:

    That’s a great tip! I had some great luck yesterday gathering things for my classroom. I also picked up a backpack at Ross for $4.99, which I plan to use for Operation Backpack! Thanks again for the tip!

  • Michelle says:

    Another trick of the trade: If the item you’re looking for is brand name and usually sold at Target or Walmart, take your ad in and have them price match, taking advantage of the usually greater stock.

    When Office Depot had Post-It Reusable Labels on sale cheap, they ran out before the end of the first day. So I ran across the street to Target and enjoyed their selection for the same price.

    • Zoya says:

      @Michelle, Not every store will price match. Target and WalMart in our area (MD) don’t.

      • Michelle says:

        @Zoya, I’m sorry to hear that! Target does have a corporate “Low price Promise” policy on their website. Try printing it out and taking it to Guest Relations. Only the Guest Relations desk is able to do the price matching anyhow.

        Walmart indicates store managers make the final call, but they too have a policy posted on their website.

        Maybe you’ll be the key to encouraging a change. =)

  • This is so true, it happened to me on Sunday night at Walmart. I thought I missed out on the $0.25 crayons because all the big boxes were empty up front, but then I decided to check the regular isle in the back of the store and there were still several boxes there!

  • Good tip! My Walgreens had no more of the washable markers on the shelf but had TONS of them on an end cap display – even some with a free personal sized practice marker board! I was able to stack my coupons on them and just paid a few dollars for the set of markers with a marker board for each kid!!

  • Kristi says:

    Please remember that those 15 cent crayons and 25 cent markers are usually NOT the washable ones. They may only be a bargain until they go on the table, chairs, or on your kids shirt.

  • Whitney says:

    And I thought I was so smart for figuring this out this week!

  • Emily says:

    Also don’t forget that if you really can’t find the item, ask for a raincheck. My Kroger was completely out of the $0.25 Crayola crayons and $1 markers that are also part of a catalina deal, so I got a raincheck. That way I can pick some up once they restock.

  • Kelly says:

    And don’t forget to check the end caps of the aisles! I found some stuff at Target in three different places last week:
    -Regular office supply/art section aisle
    -Special, seasonal back-to-school aisle
    -Special end cap to show off price (also a good place to find clearance items at Target)
    Yesterday, at Walgreens, a bunch of their back-to-school aisle was out of stock but I found everything I wanted in the regular office/art supply aisle! Yay! Good tip.

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