At this point in my life, I only have one step-child that is still young enough to need a ton of supplies for school. The older two need the more boring supplies that each individual teacher will request after the start of school. (And of course they will expect them to be purchased and at school immediaely-but must be absolutely correct and perfect-bah ha ha!)
So in being discouraged that I couldn't find outdoor stuff I started thinking back through all the years that all three kids were young enough to need things like markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc I wish I had started the shopping much earlier in the summer.
My number one reason for wishing this is that many stores offer ridiculous savings and limit the number allowed per person. If you start early in the summer, you will have many shopping trips to pick up the limit one per customer 3 cent package of crayons. Plus, even if they aren't exact, they will make great "replacement" supplies come next February when every kid thinks they need a new 100+ package of crayons.
I think saving money on reasonable items and deals is something everyone should try to do. I gave the idea of "extreme" couponing a try for about 1 1/2 months. It is very time consuming-especially if you have to find an exact size to make the coupon worth it for you. One time I made a special trip to Wal-Mart (not a fast store by any means) to purchase a small package of Carefree panty liners. They were free with the coupon (plus 7 cents tax I had to pay). Then I reflected upon this trip to the store and realized that I don't even use these panty liners and that I spent way too much time looking up the deal online, clipping the coupon, going to the store, and purchasing it.
School supplies though, get more expensive after the initial back-to-school sales that everyone has. These supplies are NOT making the stores money, but they know that you need other things. These "other" things are where they make their money. But you still shouldn't let these savings slip past you. Who wants to pay $2.50 for a small pack of crayons when you have the opportunity to get them for pocket change?!