Last Christmas, I wanted a new camera since my old camera somehow drained the batteries. Within a few hours of installing batteries, the batteries were dead! DEAD! Yes, I bought new AA rechargeable batteries AND a new charger, so it was not the batteries or charger. I had recycled enough ink cartridges at Office Max before the end of December to get the camera ($189 on sale for $79) for $22. I like those kinds of bargains. I waited until January 20, 2010 to buy my camera. I knew that by waiting, the camera would be almost free, so I was not feeling sorry for my adult self, not getting the camera right at Christmas.
Now, I have my eyes on getting free or almost free items. They changed the rules. Now, the rules are not at all user-friendly. You can look them up yourself on OM website. My daughter's birthday was July 6, so I acquired for her a digital picture frame for free. My next project is getting a digital camera for my granddaughter and paying little for it.
School supplies are on sale at OM, so I have spent the rest of my "free money" on buying school supplies for my grandchildren. Most school supplies are on sale so cheaply here in the South, that I can buy and mail to New York City more cheaply than she can buy supplies. Besides, she is a single working mother with little time for what I do for her. The postage is $10 on the large box from the Post Office. In the intial box I will send all the crayons and markers my granddaughter's needs in elementary school and lead for my high-school-age grandson's mechanical pencil. Plus, I bought mechanical pencils in bulk for both of them since they lose them during the year. Only a few packs of paper and other things bought in bulk will go into the first box along with all the crayons, scissors, and markers, sort of a starter box for school.
Up until the purchase of the mechanical pencils, most of their supplies were too cheap to pass up, considering my daughter would spend even more than the postage and sale-priced supplies to purchase the same amount of supplies in NYC.
Besides, my granddaughter exclaimed when she saw the box of supplies last year, "Memaw is the best." That keeps me buying. Well, not really...lol.
Forty-eight packs of notebook paper are stacked here, ready to go. I will only send two or three in the first box. Then, I will include a several packs in the boxes of items I send throughout the year.
Since there is no reason to purchase at full price, EVER, if items are on sale, I take full advantage of their promotions in conjunction with recycling=free items. This year, I have purchased dirt-cheap items at Walmart, KMart, CVS, and Office Max. I have until the end of August to get her final box in the mail.
My daughter's friends at work were amazed at what I paid for school supplies last year. Of course, I buy only Crayola markers, crayons, pencil, high-lighters, and whatever she needs that Crayola makes.
Prices rose drastically from last year to this! Notebook paper last year at OM was one cent for 150 sheets. Notebook paper this year is twenty cents for 100 sheets. Hmmmm....well, I still get a bargain. Rulers were a penny last year and are now a nickel. I bought a dozen wooden rulers as a hedge against next year's price! Not really!
If you have not tried shopping for school supplies at Office Max, consider doing so. By purchasing enough notebook paper, pencils, and crayons for school and home for the WHOLE year, you will be saving money. Don't you just love the smell of Crayola crayons and the memories evoked?
One caveat--at OM you must purchase the same amount of merchandise to get the free merchandise with recycling. The only reason I am going ahead and recycling for the time being is that I had to purchase Microsoft Office 2010 for my new laptop, so there is plenty of "spent" money in my OM recycling account.
Staples and Office Depot have no such stipulation. Office Depot has really good sales on school supplies. I am not sure about Staples. All three have websites where you can view the weekly ads for your area.
As for my future recycling, I may just go to the other two stores to recycle from now on since I don't want to HAVE to purchase to get perks (free stuff) for recyling! Do you hear that OM?
Of course, my daughter must send paper goods for the classroom, so I send coupons for baby wipes and paper products like paper towels and tissues.
In the early 1950s, I went to the first day of school each year with two pencils, pad or notebook paper, a notebook, a box of eight crayons and was well-prepared to learn. My mother did not have to send 36 pencils and 10 notebooks the first day like my daughter must. I'm not sure how we made it through the school day without baby wipes and paper towels from home! My parents could never have afforded to send five children to school!
Are you appalled at what children must bring to school within the first several days? Is it a drain on the budget? My daughter said it took $75 to get her daughter's supplies for the second grade!
Update: I still own the first mechanical pencil I ever owned. It lasted through high school and into college when I finally just quit using it. Santa brought it to me when I was eight-years-old. Why is it that I can keep a mechanical pencil for 55 years, and kids today lose or break them every week or so? Okay, maybe mechanical pencils were made better then. That still does not explain ALL the breakage and none of the losses!
Okay, my brother and sister got one the same year and their refillable mechanical pencil and they did not have theirs after a few months!