It’s Back to School time, or hasn’t the hype hit you? If your multiples aren’t school-aged yet, you may not know how helpful these sales can be. All around you, the stores are offering low-cost school supplies (as low as a penny, even!). Take advantage of these low prices to help you stock up for opportunities all throughout the year:

1)  All-Ages Birthday Gifts: With a little creativity, you can turn a handful of art supplies into a personalized gift for about $5.00. I took a cute bin from the Dollar Store, filled it with sale-priced supplies and some stickers (also from the Dollar Store), and personalized it for the recipient with alphabet stickers. This gift works best for ages 3-12, and it’s very budget-friendly. Pick up some markers and crayons during the Back to School sales and keep them in your Gift Closet, ready for the next birthday party invitation.

2) Encourage Creativity in Your Kids: For toddlers, you’ll find sale prices on regular glue, construction paper, simple scissors, triangular crayons and more. Buy enough to get you through the year, and set up a creativity station in your home (mine is in my dining room buffet, easy to take out and clean up before meals). Doing art with multiples is messy, messier than with singletons, but it’s a frugal activity that encourages learning, risk-taking and creativity. Once your children are old enough to use scissors, just sitting at the table cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them down on paper is enough to keep them busy while you’re cooking a meal. For more inspiration, here’s a list of inexpensive art supplies you probably have around your home.

3) Teach Your Kids to Give: The low price of school supplies is a wonderful opportunity to teach your young children how to give to others. Look for donation boxes in your local Office Depot and Staples stores, ask around for a community drive (for example, my MOMS Club is stuffing backpacks for a local community center). Let your children help pay for the supplies in store, and then talk about how it feels to buy for others. This is a great first exposure to charity for children at a young age.