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Monday, August 1, 2011

Free School Supplies

Office Max gift for teachers
When I walked in the door of Office Max, ready to do a bit of parsimonious shopping, I received this free bag after showing my Teacher OM card. None of the freebies in the bag was going to be cheap if I paid full price.  Notice the coupon that was inside--"$5 off anything you want" at Payless, a really cheap shoe store that people seem to love. I don't. The shoes never fit me and are not leather. But, I can find a gift there--scarf, little purse, whatever. There were more goodies in this bag. I send the OM bag to my daughter and she carries all the Kleenex, sanitizer, paper towels, and plastic Ziploc bags to my granddaughter's school, all the things on the school list. She was happy to see the bag two years ago and said it was handy.

More free items in the OM bag
 There is a planner for the school year, two red Sharpies, 100 jumbo (my favorite) paper clips, sample post-it notes, and sample labels. I will keep the Sharpies and part of the paper clips. The rest will go to my daughter and her children.

Another Surprise
Everything I bought was going to be 20% off! I had $45 on my card for free items, so this was going to be a good shopping day.

lead, tape, two protractors--free
Lead for their mechanical pencils that I believe they still have and use. Maybe not
One very expensive roll of Scotch tape for school. Two protractors--K needs one. I got one for home and one for school. I did not know whether to get the one with the arm or one without. Maybe the teacher prefers one over the other. So, she has two, both are clear.

I believe that a fifth grader should learn how to use a ruler with the protractor. Having the arm does not prepare them for the day when they do not have that little crutch. Getting off the soap box now. These pictures are horrible.

legal pads, pencil cases, pens, Post-its, Expo board markers--free
The teacher's list had one legal pad. I had to purchase 3. Grrrr   K needed two soft pencil cases. Those were going to be $4 or $5...whew. Then, I found a cheap section of items and paid $1.50 for each of these. I have packages of pens that were ten cents for ten pens. However, I have been buying J, who is 16, better pens so they don't hurt his hands. He is an excellent student and does not lose things, so these are a little pricey but worth having a comfortable pen that writes easily, too. Then, there are the wrong Post-it notes. I should have gotten the pad with sticky at the top, but got the dispenser pads instead. So, that means another trip back. the teacher wanted a pack of dry erase board markers. I got the Expo low odor ones. 

100 pencils, 6 rulers--free at OM
As I was checking out, I realized I was going to be about eighty cents short of spending the $45 since I had the 20% discount. I just kept buying more pencils and rulers until I owed OM two cents. YAY! You see 100 pencils and 6 rulers. Remember I have at least 100 more pencils from last year and half a dozen rulers. My $45 had to be spent today or lose it. I did not want to have to go back to OM another time. right now, I am scrunched in the chair until my back is flat on the seat. My back feels best this way, but the lower back is throbbing. So, too much walking today is my problem.

Do you remember the post where I was looking over my supplies? That was in preparation for today.

Left from last year
I don't always send everything I get.
Sharpies for a penny, OM--FREE

There are 19 Sharpies here, ranging in price from $1.99 to $2.49. I paid 19 cents for them. I sent her more than pictured at the beginning of the last school year. Then, at Christmas I gave her another dozen or so. I assume these will still be good this year. In a few weeks, these will probably go on sale again. I need to get more royal blue and Christmas green.  Last year I got plenty of black fine Sharpies. The year before I did not get any. You have to be there early in the day to find any black ones. They do restock, but you cannot count on the warehouse being out of anything...hmmmm, I

From a yard sale
dividers, 9 cents each at yard sale
At a yard sale last year, I came upon a package of the loose leaf index dividers. There were 11 sets of these in the package. One was gone. I paid $1 for the 11 packages. I asked my daughter if J, the high school student, needed these. She was sort of disdainful. This year, she said she needed some of these dividers because she had to buy several for him last fall. !!!??? I reminded her that she turned them down. She has no recollection of the conversation. grrrr...makes me wonder if she listens some days.

All this is free because of purchases my friend made with my card. She has a tax business--prepares tax returns. Plus, I recycled some cartridges. If I had purchased ink, this would have all been my purchases that raised my free amount.

Pencils are still 10 cents for ten pencils for the next week. Get there soon. Rulers are 1 cent. These deals will be different each week. If you know someone who lives near OM, maybe they can pick these up if your drive would not be worth the money saved. Each week the sale items change. I am not through yet!

How to shop at Office Max
You may have to go through the line multiple times if there is a limit. I do this. I asked the cashier if it was an awful thing to do. She said lots of people do it and OM does not care. She said that churches come in with many people and do this, getting supplies to give away. Actually, any store that places a limit per visit cannot deny that when you leave the store and put your things in the car and come back into the store that this is not a new visit. I do buy all my ink supplies and cameras at OM.
10 composition books, 7 book covers, 3 folders
Yet another find at my house
I knew I had these, but could not locate them until just now. Each child in K's class needs 10 composition books. The cheap ones with checks or lines or a mottled design are regularly $1.49. I bought these last year for 25 cents each, thinking K would need more during the year. She had the year before, and my daughter paid full NY price for them. These also come in colors for the same price. However, if you venture into a floral pattern, hearts, kittens, or some other design, these are $2.49+. The teacher this year designated "black and white" composition books. Maybe she has seen the horrendously expensive ones brought to school. Full price for supplies above--$26. My cost--$4.75. None of this group was bought at OM, just bought elsewhere as I found it.

Aha, I found the textbook covers bought for 25 cents!

Free Copy Paper
Remember when I got 10 free reams of copy paper? I may get one ream in the box to mail, especially if I have to go to a larger box.

Office Depot has a better way of recycling, but OM is in this town, three miles from me.

Now, I only have to pack it all into one box for mailing--a $10.95 flat rate box from USPS.

I look for school supplies all year long. Well, I don't search, but I pay attention to what is being reduced and what is at yard sales.

OM this year--retail, $54-20%+ tax, my price, $0.02
Yard sale finds--retail, $10, my price, $1
OM last year (Sharpies)--about $70+ tax, my price--$0
Leftovers from last year--retail, $26+ tax, my price, $4.75
Copy paper--retail, $39+ tax. my price, $0
Freebies in/and OM bag--let's put all that at $10, my price, $0
Grand total~$210.00
I paid~$5.75

Happy Dance
Yes, that is me, spinning, hair flying, ...okay, only in my dreams as I hobble along.

Your turn
Do you recycle to get credit to buy school supplies? Do you ever get school supplies at yard sales? Do you buy all year long when prices drop?  



  1. wowie, you sure get great freebies, Practical! (I'm a huge sharpie fan myself)

  2. Dmarie, I don't think I have ever owned more than one or two Sharpies at a time, both in black, until these one-cent Sharpie deals hit OM. It seems we all use them since the sales that I always hit.

  3. The only office store left here is Staples. I hit them hard 2 years ago for BTS supplies...last year I didn't need any more as I still had extras.
    I got lots of pens, pencils, tape at Rite-Aid last fall for free and I am still using copy paper from the deal I got 2 years ago. All I need this year is notebooks, filler paper and some binders for #2 son. I'll pick up additional notebooks for the older 2 at college but that's all I have on the list so far.
    I sure miss turning in ink cartridges for credit at STaples tho. Since I got the business printer that uses a toner cartridge my ink/toner costs have gone waaay down. Buying this on clearance was one of the best investments, what with all the coupons I print.

  4. slugmama, Good, I am glad to see I am not the only one who stocks up for the ten reams of paper will last me forever unless I start printing coupons. Staples take toner cartirdges and cartridges. I suppose you don't use enough toner cartridges for much in rewards.You save another way. The older kids don't need crayons and baby wipes, just a small fortune in books. Maybe you have friends who don't want to bother with the cartridges they use and would rather trade you for a bottle of shampoo. I am all for the trade.

  5. I'm so impressed! Wish I could could find bargains like that considering my hubby will be returning to school soon. But his school supply list is much shorter for a college student, lol! Except for the pricey books, eek! That's where buying used books online & re-selling comes in to play.

  6. If you have an Office Max, Office Depot, or Staples near you, read their rules and see if you can rack up some freebies each quarter. I have a teacher's card, so my rules are slightly different at OM.


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