Blogging through the Alphabet – O is for Office Supplies

I have a confession to make.  I am an office supply junkie!  Pens specifically.  Remember these gel pens? 

Yeah, these right here!  I had a whole stash of them!  Well, until they dried up after 10 years. 

Those bags that were given out with the Clinique bonus’?  Those were used to hold my stash.  I had the metallic gel pens, marbled ink gel pens, pens with company names, plain ink pens, erasable ink pens and so much more.  And that was just as a teen going into college!
Now that I am a homeschool mom, I think I justify the addiction even more!  Must have pencils for the kids, red correction pencils or pens, colored pencils, mechanical pencils, pens just so I can write things down, erasers of all sorts, paper and a laminator!  
Yes, I have a laminator!  That is my favorite purchase right there.  You should have seen the sparkle in my eyes when I purchased that piece of equipment.  It was like a dream.  🙂
I use it to laminate charts, letters for making words, dry/erase practice papers, and more.  They say that if you give a teacher a laminator to watch out.  This is true.  If those sheets weren’t so expensive I would be laminating everything!  But for now I am quite picky about what gets laminated.
As a homeschool family we use our printer quite a bit.  We have been through 3 inkjet printers.  With all the printing we are doing now we decided to take the plunge and purchase a laser printer.  It is larger than our former inkjet printers, but we were blowing through ink.  
We started to notice that the ink would actually dry up if you didn’t use it all the time.  Some weeks the printer was used almost daily.  Others not so much.  I was getting frustrated that the ink would not last a whole team of paper.  I bought the high capacity cartridges and printed on draft but we were still buying ink once a month and not even getting a full 500 sheets of paper with those cartridges.  Talk about frustrating.  Hence our jump to  a laser printer.  
So how does a homeschool family with one income afford office supplies?  Well I love rewards programs.  One of my favorites is Office Max Teacher Rewards program.  For every $75 dollars you spend on supplies, furniture, technology, and other qualifying services and products you receive a $10 dollar reward!  You ALSO can recycle your Printer Ink and Toner Cartridges.  You can earn $2 dollars per qualifying cartridge (see terms here) up to $20 a month.  Yeah, all that ink I was blowing through with the ink jet printer?  Well I saved my cartridges. I LOVE earning $$ by recycling and rewards programs.

I have probably earned nearly $100+ a year through this program.  That makes a big difference for a family on one income that homeschools.  And considering we have 4 kids to go through school, every little bit adds up. 

Well I recently got $62 in rewards.  Between binding books, buying paper, supplies and ink I am earning rewards.  So to spend the rewards is like putting a child loose in the candy store.  I took Jordan (our 6yo) with me to redeem them.  We had fun hitting the clearance section.  Got some great colored pencils by prang, paper, binders, and other things that I just love to have in my house.

So I highly recommend joining a Rewards program of some sort.  Staples, Barnes and Noble gives homeschoolers a discount with proper documentation, Office Max are the ones I know of for sure.  But there may be more in your area.  Do what homeschoolers do best!  Research and join to get these great benefits!  🙂

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