Your best buys will come from traditional suppliers. For example, at OfficeMax.com shipping is free for purchases of $50 or more if you live within a local store's trading area, and the selection is incredible. You'll find a teacher's registry where teachers can post their class supply lists and parents can order directly off the list. It's an idea that's still a bit ahead of its time, but if your children's teachers use this service, then you should, too.
Shop online and get on the rebate plan. In addition to great bargains and a wide variety of choices, at Staples.com there's free shipping when you order at least $50 worth of supplies. And they've got a special rebate section for the best deals.
Shop to benefit your local school. Schoolpop.com is a unique online fund-raising program. Access participating stores (and there are many of them) through Schoolpop, and a percentage of your payment will go to the school of your choice. Just select your school from the well-populated list of schools nationwide.
Use the Web for hard-to-find items. The items that drive parents to distraction are the obscure ones - things like sports items and special backpacks. For everything that's sports-related, visit Fogdog.com. It's a bit pricey, but where else can you find more than 100 different soccer-cleat choices? For backpacks - which are a kid's major life support, and their home away from home - go to ebags.com.
Use the Web to control the "I gotta have it" trendy stuff. When you shop on the Web, you're in control - not your kids tugging at your jacket. But if they've got to have the latest Dinosaur lunchbox or Barbie pencil case, then go to Target.com or Walmart.com. Both of these sites showcase a good supply of branded, trendy school supplies. Plus you can always return items at the local store.
Buy review and reference books online. It's hard to buy textbooks online because schools are already pretty good at making them available to students for a low cost. But for review books, reference books, and less time-sensitive texts, go to Varsitybooks.com, where textbooks are their staple diet and the savings are healthy. College students should check out sites like Journeyed.com, where they can buy books and other back to school stuff at a big discount.
Frugal living. Thinking about saving on back-to-school clothes? Here are some frugal ideas from About.com on how to get clothes, backpacks, and endless supplies without breaking the bank.
How to outfit your child for back-to-school. Children want to fit in with their peers, be comfortable, and keep up with the latest fashions. Here are hints from eHOW to keep in mind when going back-to-school shopping.