Ready or not, August is here. For many families, summer events and activities have made the time pass by in a blurry haze. However, Monday begins a new month. August is a month hated by children and loved by parents, because another school year is about to begin.
This month is ripe with deals, clearance finds and new produce choices coming in season. Coupon users will see a few back-to-school coupon inserts in the next few weeks.
In the grocery stores, there are plenty of back-to-school promotions and displays to catch your attention. All of the things your budding young scholar(s) will need for a successful school year will be easily found in displays and end caps.
Many "quick fix items" will be featured in the food aisles to help ease the upheaval that the school year brings to families who have become accustomed to the more leisurely summer schedule. Look for sales on packaged lunch items such as lunch meat, pudding cups, ready-to-eat lunches, waffles, cereal and bread.
As the summer begins to draw to a close, many new varieties of produce are coming into season.
This month you will find corn, okra, onions, tomatillos, bell peppers, eggplant, peppers, cucumber, green beans, summer squash, avocados, apples, berries, figs, grapes, peaches, pears, melons and plums in season. If you have ever thought about canning, this is the perfect time to put up salsa, pickles and jams. These items do not require a pressure cooker to can and are great for a beginner. Coupons on canning jars and kits were available in the paper just a few weeks ago.
In grocery stores, you also will find specials on classroom supply items such as tissue, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and paper towels. Keep an eye out for special flyers at the store with coupons and rebates.
In big-box stores, office-supply stores and even drugstores, you will find some great deals on school supplies. These items include backpacks, lunch boxes, paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, glue, scissors, notebooks and folders. This past week, one of our local office supply stores offered a special for two backpacks free after rebate using their rewards program.
Keep an eye out this month for different penny stock-up items featured every week in the office supply store ads.
If you are not a frequent shopper of office supply stores, now is a great time to consider trying them. They usually have a great selection and plenty of stock of their sales items.
Teachers, don't forget to sign up for the office supply teacher rewards programs and start earning those deals and rebates. They also have special Teacher Appreciation Days with extra discounts just for you.
If you are a homeschool parent like my family, you might want to check with the stores because some might let you qualify for the teacher discount, too. See the individual store for details.
Do not ignore the drugstore ads. They will have a few great deals each week this month on school supplies. Do not be afraid to take advantage of the deals. Donate items if you don't need them. Many places have school supply drives this month, a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community while keeping your costs at a minimum.
It is never too early to start planning for your family's needs for next year. Summer items continue to be put on clearance to make room for the new fall items.
Look for great deals on summer clothing, beach towels, grills and accessories, beach and pool equipment, patio furniture, sunscreen and insect repellent.
A key to keeping your back-to-school purchases at a minimum is to make a list of what your child has and compare it to what he or she will need for this year. By knowing what I had and using a coupon on what I needed, I will save almost 50 percent.
Let the school year begin.