We’re nearing the end of the first shopping week – how is it going?
I had grand plans of posting some of the top deals for the week, but that didn’t happen. I will try for next week’s deals next Monday.
The big news is that we officially have a non-profit partner: the Henrico Education Foundation! It supports programs, scholarships, and more for Henrico County Public Schools. HEF already has a “School Supply Challenge” through which it encourages businesses and community groups to collect supplies for challenged schools. The supplies that we purchase for our challenge will go to help Henrico High School and several East End elementary schools.
While anything goes as far as what you can purchase for the challenge (anything school-related of course) and it will all get used somewhere, the Henrico Education Foundation does have a list of supplies it requests, which might be worth keeping in mind while you’re trying to decide what deals to buy – you an view it here.
Rob sent me the following tip earlier this week:
My wife just found a great deal on highlighters and expo dry erase markers at Office Max. Inside the store is a $5 OFF coupon on three items.
We found (3) packages of Sharpie’s for $5…making them completely free.
Coupon is limit one per person per transaction. Look for it at the Sharpie’s display.
A quick rule clarification that was asked: Many of Staples deals are only valid with a $5 minimum purchase. The policy in place last year that we’ll use again is that to take advantage of those deals, the $5 purchase must be for the challenge (not you buying items for yourself, even though you might need them). But since rebates don’t count toward your total, if you can find Easy Rebate items to meet the $5 minimum, those won’t go against your budget. (If you’ve done something different this week, that’s fine, just know for future!)
There’s still oodles of time to join in! I haven’t made much progress beyond getting a raincheck for crayons at Kroger.
I did swing by Walmart yesterday and scope out the school supply section, which was just being assembled. Walmart isn’t great for this challenge, because it already has low prices and doesn’t offer deep discounts off of those. But if you are in the market for supplies for personal use, it had Elmer’s glue sticks for $.10 each, generic glue sticks “3 for $.25,” generic colored pencils or washable markers for $.50 each, and 1-subject notebooks for $.17.
For more information about the Challenge, check out last week’s post!
Calling all bargain shoppers!
It’s time again to answer the question “How many school supplies can you buy with a $10 budget?”
(My haul from last year’s challenge)
If you’ve been reading this blog for less than a year, here’s the background:
The event began in 2010 when I challenged a few fellow frugal bloggers to a friendly competition to see who could stretch a small budget the furthest. I love shopping school supply deals, but needed a good excuse and great cause 🙂 The four of us spent $40 to accumulate $500 worth of supplies to donate to the Fulton Hill Neighborhood Resource Center. Here’s the recap post.
Last year, with help from Kroger and the Hodges Partnership, and orchestrated by Eleanor at Saving Our Way, we opened the challenge up to anyone who was interested and 16 shoppers collected over $3,000 worth of supplies to donate to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. You can read my recap post here.
My individual total was $104.87, which palls in comparison to the winner, Erin McGarvey, who stretched $10 to get $567.74 worth!(!) That is a 98.2% savings, folks.
Why should you participate?
A. It’s a great cause. Well, it will be for a great cause – kids! 🙂 I’m still finalizing exactly which of many worthwhile Richmond organizations will receive this year’s supplies, and I will update that information as soon as I can. Update – we’ll be working with the Henrico Education Foundation – more info here.
B. It’s fun. If you’ve never tried, you’ll be surprised how many school supplies $10 buys when you are shopping the back-to-school deals!
C. You might win a prize. Those who accept the challenge this year will be eligible to win some cool prizes from generous sponsors:
(1) $20 Ledo Pizza gift card + $20 Regal Cinemas gift card, courtesy of ILikeToSave.com
Anyone who participates (see terms below) has a chance to win!
Hopefully I’ve talked you into it, so here’s what you need to know:
You can spend a maximum of $10, excluding tax. Rebates do not count to your total.
Save all your receipts, and keep records of your spending and saving (including where and when you made purchases, what the retail value was, what discounts you used, and how much you spent) There is a spreadsheet available on Google Docs if you could use help with the calculations. Go here.
Your final total – how much you spent, and the total retail value of items – must be submitted by Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at noon EDT. SUBMIT TOTALS USING THIS FORM.
On Wednesday, August 15th, we will gather at Tuckahoe Library (1901 Starling Drive, Henrico, VA 23229) at 4pm to collect everyone’s collections, recognize the top frugal shoppers, and to select prize winners. If you can’t make it at that time, I’ll be happy to make other arrangements with you to pick up your stuff.
To be eligible to win one of the prizes, you must collect at least $40 retail value worth of supplies with your $10 budget (75% savings). This is so easy to do I am almost insulting your frugal intelligences by making it the minimum. (If it sounds daunting, I’d be happy to give you some ideas of where to start!) The point of the challenge is to challenge yourself! You must also provide your receipts and documentation if you are selected a winner, but you don’t have to be present on August 15th to win.
More fine print: No more than one prize per person. Participants will be assigned a number based on when their totals were received (first = 1), and from the total number of eligible participants, Random.org will be used to select the winning numbers. Donation must be received before prize is distributed.
Questions? Shoot! You can also hang out on the RVA Coupon Pros Facebook page to ask questions, share tips or photos, etc.
Yesterday the participants in the RVA Coupon Pros School Supply Challenge gathered at Kroger to see how much we had bought with our $10 budgets, and to donate the results to the Boys & Girls Club.
This year, I set my goal to collect $100 worth on supplies with my $10. I kept it simple – no rebates, and actually only used one manufacturer’s coupon. So if you think getting great deals is complicated and involves lots of coupons, this shows it doesn’t have to be! In total I made 7 trips, shopping at Office Max, Office Depot, and Kroger.
Here’s the breakdown of what I got with my $9.99:
Total retail value = $104.87
I bet you’d like to know who won – The top three were Erin McGarvey ($567.74), Anjie Henley who collected ($449.25) and Sarah Metzgar ($302.78). Talk about some super couponers! Althogether, sixteen folks participated and collected $3,046.63 worth!
Want to read more? Check out yesterday’s “More Bang for Your Buck” segment on NBC12!
Kroger donated $1000 as well!
If you’re here because you heard about the Frugal School Supply Challenge on the Jimmy Barrett show this morning, welcome! Hope some of you can join us collecting school supplies for the Boys & Girls Club – all the details, rules and spreadsheet can be found on the RVA Coupon Pros Facebook page. There’s also more info in this post. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have, and you can also contact Eleanor at the blog Saving Our Way who is organizing this year’s challenge.
If you’re interested in finding ways to save money in Richmond, I hope you’ll stick around! I cover free events around town, daily deal websites, local store sales and coupons, second-hand resources and more. You can subscribe to receive daily email updates, or keep up with the latest Richmond Bargains on Facebook or Twitter.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember the Frugal Blogger Challenges I’ve posted about, in which some other bloggers and myself tried to collect as many school supplies, food items, and toiletry items to donate to charity with just a $10 budget each time.
Exciting news: The school supply challenge is back, and this year we’re asking YOU to participate too! Are you up for the challenge?
Local deal bloggers are partnering with Kroger this month to encourage readers to collect as many supplies as possible with only $10 out-of-pocket cost. The donations will benefit a great local cause: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Richmond.
And to sweeten the deal (as if the thrill of bargain shopping and reward of being able to help others weren’t enough) Kroger is offering prizes to the top shoppers! –
1st Place: $200 Kroger Gift Card
2nd Place: $100 Kroger Gift Card
3rd Place: $50 Kroger Gift Card
Kroger will also match donations up to $1000.
The challenge starts TODAY, so get shopping! You can find all the details and rules on RVA Coupon Pros Facebook page.
Last year, the four of us collected over $500 worth! As the winner (by a very narrow margin), my advice is to hit the sales hard early and use as much of your budget as possible so you aren’t scrambling to spend it in the end. The discounts are often better well before school starts. For more of my thoughts, check out my post about last year’s results.
Here are some of the bloggers helping with this year’s challenge (from a kick-off lunch at Kroger yesterday):
Tiffany (Young and Frugal in Virginia), Me, Angie (My Four Monkeys), Eleanor (Saving Our Way), Anjie (The Frugal Freelancer), Carl York (Kroger Mid-Atlantic), Ann (Ann’s Crazy World)
Not pictured: Kim (Day By Day Savings), Stephanie (Coupon Clippin Mommy)
This was a great experience last year, and I hope some readers will join me in helping the Boys & Girls Club this year! (And win!)
Bring your donation of a new school supply to either location in Midlothian starting Friday, August 27th through Monday, September 6th (Labor Day) to receive a FREE regular ice!!
Don’t know what to bring?? How about packs of paper, pens, or pencils, staplers, folders, notebooks, scissors, glue sticks, rulers, calculators, highlighters, planners… all donations appreciated!!
Limit one free regular-sized ice per donation.
All donations will be kept in OUR community at OUR schools!!
13826 VILLAGE PLACE DRIVE
MIDLOTHIAN VA 23114
I tried to get our school supply donations organized a little bit before I handed them off to Kate S. for delivery to the Neighborhood Resource Center, and took a few more shots of the final results:
4 bloggers, 40 dollars, and $500.01 worth of school supplies collected for the Fulton Hill Neighborhood Resource Center! Wow!
Eleanor from Saving Our Way, Tiffany from Young and Frugal in Virginia, Stephanie form Coupon Clipping Mommy and myself began the RVA Blogger School Supply Challenge five weeks ago with $10 to buy as many school supplies as we could.
And it turned out to be a lot! Here is what $500 in school supplies looks like:
I actually “won” the challenge, with $163.63 worth. However, it was a tight race!
What I acquired with my $9.97:
Total Retail Value: $163.63
A few thoughts and observations:
-First, I LOVE being a deal shopper because it enables me to get more for my money while simultaneously giving more away!
-Some school supply items (like crayons, pens and notebooks) got better sales and coupons than others (like zippered pencil bags, scissors and composition books). While I could have saved even more money spending my whole budget on pens and crayons, I did try to include some other items requested by school supply lists as well.
-Related: Since we were judging winner by who got the most retail value for $10, it did bias me away from Walmart, where “regular” prices are lower. Plus, the more expensive stores, like grocery stores and office supply stores, offered better super sales in hopes of attracting families doing back-to-school shopping and who will purchase additional non-promotional items.
-When you’re using coupons to pay pennies for school supplies, tax definitely becomes a factor; it ate up $1.28 of my budget. I did try to take advantage of tax-free weekend
-I got the most mileage out of Kroger’s school supply Catalina deal – all the crayons and markers and most of the pens were bought rolling Catalina coupons into the next transaction. Almost $100 worth. The other stores I shopped at were Target, Office Depot, Office Max, Martin’s and Walgreens.
-Finally, it was a fun challenge! I enjoyed working towards a goal and had a blast meeting up with my terrific fellow bloggers last night. We have already decided to tackle another charity project!
How many school supplies can $10 buy? Some Richmond money-saving bloggers, myself included, are in the process of finding out!
For the past four weeks, we’ve been scouring the back-to-school deals around town. Armed with only a $10 budget (including tax), our challenge was to shop the sales to collect as many supplies as possible. We’ll be working with RichmondMom.com/HandsOn Greater Richmond’s “Back-to-School Splash” to donate the fruit of our labor to the Fulton Hill Neighborhood Resource Center.
In addition to Richmond Bargains, the other competitors are
I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve stretched my $10, but Eleanor has been talking smack about the rest of us needing to be afraid 😉
We’ll be gathering next Thursday night to find out whose deal-hunting reigns supreme, so check back Friday the 20th for the results and photos!
Consider taking advantage of all the great deals going on this month to pick up a few supplies to donate to a number of causes collecting them in Richmond – In addition to the Back to School Splash, Crossover Ministries needs your help, or get a free mini-sundae from Arby’s when you donate supplies to Stuff the Bus this Saturday or the next.
From Arby’s Facebook page:
Want a free mini sundae? Then join First Capital Bank at Stuff the Bus – August 7, August 14 and August 21! Donate school supplies for kids in need and we’ll reward you with a sweet treat! Stay tuned for more details and pass it on!
Watch for other local groups holding school supply drives during the month of August, and stock up on some of the great deals on supplies to help kids in need!
(I’m teaming up with some other frugal bloggers around Richmond in a challenge to collect school supplies for donation. Will post more information about what we’re doing next week!)