Mary Pankoke

Mary PankokeMary Pat Pankoke is a Parkland mom of two who teaches Coupon Classes in the South Florida area and shares "unreal deals" daily at

Save on back-to-school shopping

Look for manufacturers' coupons and  head out with your stash of ads from local stores.
Look for manufacturers' coupons and head out with your stash of ads from local stores.

Well here we are, entering probably one of THE BEST deal times of the year!  The back-to-school shopping season is so exciting, especially if you know how to do it the right way.

For weeks leading up to the day the school starts, every store on the block is trying to lure you through their doors to spend those school supply dollars.  That means that there are deals everywhere!  

Here are some tips to help you make the most of those deals:

Price Matching 

To save the most money and time, take advantage of the price matching offers from stores in your area.  Target and Walmart will price match another store's price as long as you bring in the ad.  Actually, Walmart advertises that you don't even have to bring the ad with you.  I always do, just so there's no mistake.  Many of the traditional office supply stores also price match.  Rule of thumb ... go armed with your ads, and just ask if they'll price match. 

Stock Up Now

It's a long school year.  If you can pick up five packages of filler paper now at just 1 cent each, why not??  You know that halfway through the school year, you're going to be making that midnight run to Walmart to get more notebook paper, and it will kill you to find out that it's $2.99 a package!

Clip Those Coupons

Not only do stores offer sales, but many of the school supply manufacturers offer coupons for their products.  Combine those coupons with the low, low, loss leader pricing, and you've got the perfect formula for maximum savings.

Check out this deal:  In the Smart Source from this past Sunday, Aug. 4, there was a manufacturer's coupon to save $1 on any Bic stationery product.  The lowest price Bic product I see in this week's ads is a five-pack of Bic mechanical pencils at Staples.  But, if I take that Staples ad to Walmart, buy the Bic pens at 25 cents, use the $1 Bic manufacturer's coupon, I will actually make 75 cents!  

At Walmart, if the value of your coupon is greater than the price of the item, they will give cash back or allow you to use that overage for something else in your cart. I can use that 75 cents to buy anything else I need.  And if I have five of those coupons and buy five packs of the Bic pencils, I have 5 x 75 cents or $3.75 to use.

So, it's time to clip those coupons, grab those sale ads, and head out to have some fun with school supply shopping this year!  :-)



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