Guest post by Yuri Hernandez, Client Services Associate & Budget Shopper Extraordinaire 

My daughter needs new notebooks, pens and binders for her first day of grade 3… My son needs new electronics for his first day of high school… And it’s the weekend before school starts. HELP! You may have experienced something like this before…

Back to school shopping can be one of the most stressful times for parents. There are the traditional expenses like clothing, school supplies, field trips and books – as well as the latest and greatest tech gadgets. Parents are on average spending $500.00 or more on what we now call the ‘basic’ back to school supplies. Finding new ways to maximize your budget is the only way for most families.

In the past, I have been told that my budgeting skills are some of the best so below I have prepared for you a list of stores and online shopping options that can provide all of the necessary back to school items on a budget. These stores will also provide most of these deals not just during back to school but year long!

Money saving tips for back to school shopping:

  • Cutting down on the electronics to the basics (cellphone/computer/)
  • Asking family members for hand-me-downs
  • Community based sports programs – lower in cost/provides daily activity
  • Do not buy new things every year – try to reuse good working items


You can find the most useful and obscure items at Dollarama. From art supplies, colouring books, backpacks and everything you could possibly need for back to school and then some. For the most part all items range from $1.00 to $5.00! There are so many locations and they are open during most holidays and weekends so this is a great place to count on, even for last minute shoppers 🙂


Wal-Mart is a well known store that provides long hours and fair prices. This is a good store to visit when there is little time left and you need all of the back to school basics and maybe groceries too! Wal-Mart also has weekly flyers and ‘Ad Match’ pricing which I would highly suggest for those who love to “coupon” and collect flyers.

Honest Eds

Honest-Eds has been on the forefront of the Toronto shopping scene since the 1948. You can find t-Shirts, uniforms, shoes and supplies here for under $20.00 and the retro feel and happy staff make you feel as if you have stepped back in time. This would be a great option for shoppers in down town Toronto looking for an alternative to the big chain stores.

Online options: Amazon

Aside from being one of the leading retail business in the world, Amazon provides the ability to see the same items being sold at different prices. Most of the time there will always be the same version of what you are trying to buy but ‘gently-used’ or ‘like new’ for half the price! This is especially true for electronics, so this may be the place to go to save on those tech toys 🙂

Online option: Red Flags

Red-Flag Deals is a database that displays the latest online deals and collects web-coupons. They provide the option to have these offers emailed to you or you can go directly to their website and search for what you are looking for. This website is great to use in partnership with ‘Ad Match’ promotions. As long as you have a qualifying competitor’s flyer, Wal Mart and other stores that participate will price match so that you can get all of your shopping done at one store!

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After doing your back to school shopping for your son and/or daughter and you realize that you have old electronics, desks and book shelves, think about Furniture Bank. We will get them to a family who can use them.

Click here to find out the furniture & housewares items we accept for donation.