WOOHOO! I'm done with Back To School Shopping! And I did it all for FREE or nearly FREE! I remember the years when back to school shopping for 3 kids cost us $100 or more! I sure wish I was as wise with my spending then, as I strive to be now! So, what's the difference, aside from the obvious Out Of Pocket expense?

I used to wait until the last couple weeks before school went back in. Then I made one trip to WalMart with my lists for all 3 kids and piled it all in the buggy. That's how I'd guess 80% of moms in my area did it, which was obvious by the mad dash and traffic jams in the back to school isles, which was an added stress! I was lucky if I only spent $100 and can remember many times checking out for upwards of $150. Ugh! I cringe at the thought of that now!

The difference....planning ahead and spending more wisely, just as with all necessities. "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" ~Proverbs 21:5

The minute the Back To School supply sales hit the shelf, which is early-mid summer, I'm there! The first day of that stores weekly sale-because many times the serious deals are gone quickly! This is when you can snag brand name items like Crayola Crayons or Elmers Glue for ridiculously low prices like .20cent ! Stores can do this, because they know most families live paycheck to paycheck and will wait until the last minute when the prices go back up.

I hit each and every ridiculously low deal and get ONLY those ridiculously low deals, like OfficeMax had 10 packs of pens for .20 per pack and Big Lots had 3 Subject Notebooks 10 for $1.00. Stores use these low deals to get you in the store knowing that the majority will also purchase other items. Not me...I prefer NOT to be in the majority these days! As Dave Ramsey says "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else". A founding principle for handling finances and preparing for a prosperous and debt free future!

I make my quick runs into every store, every week building up to Back To School time and snag just those super low deals. I'm usually finished well before most families even think about shopping for Back To School!

I hit CVS, OfficeMax and Big Lots one final time again today and finished my back to school supply shopping! Whew! What a relief. The photo above in no way does my stockpiling over the last month justice! You can't actually see the depth of the stacks of each item! I scored MORE than enough for my 3 kids and will be donating the overage to their classrooms for other kids that are in need. That's a far cry from my "new mom" years of Back To School Shopping!

The deals have been so numerous I can't even begin to make you all a list, but encourage you to check each store circular in your area each week and snag only those super low deals! My stockpile is a combination of deals I scored for Free or Nearly Free from RiteAid, CVS, OfficeMax, Big Lots and WalMart.

So, how much shopping do you have left to do for Back To School supplies?