Need a new laptop? Getting low on file folders, pens, paper clips or pads, etc? If the answer is yes, now is the perfect time to buy. Stores big and small are revving up their back to school ads and promotions, offering tons of money-saving items to tempt students into their stores. And riding those kids’ T-shirt tails, we can save along with them, whether we’re shopping for offices at home or at spiffy corporate addresses.

And not only are office supplies and equipment at their cheapest now, but sharp competition insures that product selections are also at their most appealing. A few years ago at Staples I was visually charmed into buying some miniature, pastel colored, transparent calculators on key chains. Finally, I thought, a calculator small enough to carry everywhere. Except later I kept forgetting I was actually carrying one. The Result? The Tinkerbell batteries wore out before I could get much use from the wee contraptions.

And come every August I say, “No!” I absolutely don’t need ten more spiral notebooks that usually sell for a dollar at Rite Aid. But when I see all those fresh colors stacked up at the store and I think of all the money it will save me and all the use I will get out of them–an entire notebook for every new interest or project–I’m sucked in again. And my shelves sag ever deeper with yet another batch of fading notebooks.

When, however, it comes to those pocketed color folders stores puts on back-to-school sale for a fraction of their everyday price, the only question for me is how many to cart home. With their upbeat colors and gutsy textured paper, I never seem to have enough of them.

By the way, it’s interesting to compare the needs of a first grader many moons ago with a first grader of today. As a six-year-old in bygone days, I recall my entire school gear encompassed a few plain Jane pencils with rock hard erasers that left dark smudges, a tiny pencil sharpener and a ruler. That, along with a notebook on which to scribble, was it. On their website, Staples has very thoughtfully prepared school supply lists for each specific grade, pre-k through college, and their list for a first grader contains 26 items. Including a battery-operated pencil sharpener, because, I guess, today’s delicate six year olds might strain their wrists twisting a manual pencil sharpener, two different glues, tissues, antibacterial soap (don’t schools have soap anymore?), a crayon sharpener (which completely negates the beauty of brand new crayons with sharp points), and a back pack (because somewhere along the way, kids stopped using their arms to carry books to and from school)

So shop with the kids on their way back to school and save piles of pretty pennies on your office paraphernalia.