‘Stretching your dollar’ with end of summer deals

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind --  We are still in the middle of summer, but there are already end of the summer deals available.  As you might expect, this is also the best time of year for parents to shop for school supplies. But here's a tip you may not have heard:  Don't load up on a years worth of school supplies!

"Many of us feel the need to buy everything at one time, but if you spread out your purchases over a period of time, you're going to see deals get better and better," said Dave Poletti, Southport Meijer Store Director.

This is the time everyone is buying, so prices are higher as you might expect due to increased demand.  But as time goes on, ads will get better and deals will improve.  Buy what your child needs now, and in about a month, many of the school supplies will be close to half off.  Here's another tip that can save you hundreds of dollars -- schools have supply lists, so stick to them!

"If you're a parent, use that school list because that's exactly what that child needs. If you rely on your child as far as what they want, that may cost you significantly more.  So if you stick with items on the list,  you're going to save money," said Poletti.

Look for what are called "in-store" deals.  They are often last minute deals or deals that are not advertised.  Many stores don't try and list every deal they have.  It's just too expensive.   When you go into a store, look for signs showing price-cuts.  Also, take advantage of the perks for being a loyal shopper such as Mperks at Meijer.  Most stores offer such programs.  Also, be careful of paying for name brands.

"Take a look at the store brands versus the national brands. For example a Disney backpack with a Disney character is going to be more money than just a regular backpack," said Poletti.

The best school deals come toward the end of August.  Right now, it's July and summer isn't close to over. Even so, stores are already making room for fall things.

"Based on the amount of inventory we have, we may go more aggressive on merchandise just to make sure it gets flushed out of the store so we're ready for all the new merchandise that comes in, " said Poletti.

Look for great deals that are near the front of the store or close to the check-out counters.  Some of the items are not just because of a summer sale, but because they are being phased-out.

"Lego is a big category for us, and this is a great example of a product being phased out.  Here's one Lego product that's 70% off.  It was about $21, now it's just $7," said Poletti.

You may also want to also consider 4th of July shopping even though it's been over for a couple weeks.  Many stores still have holiday products and now they're at great discounts.   At Meijer, they have sets of patio garden lights for the 4th of July, but you can use them at any time or have them ready for next year.  Shopping experts say it's sometimes hard to plan for next year, whether it's for a holiday or school supplies, but if you can, it will definitely help your budget when you buy what's not in season.