Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: When I was a kid, I used to love stationery stores. The stores were much smaller. They didn't need the room to store cases of paper, because personal computers hadn't been invented yet. My mom would go there to buy carbon paper for her manual typewriter, and I would browse the aisles, looking at the pretty notecards and boxes of Christmas cards that got marked down 50 percent (and quickly snatched up) on December 26.
I still love office stores, but for different reasons ....
1) They are open early. You can usually come in at 7:00 or 8:00 AM. In the days when I had both an 8:15 and a 9 AM drop-off, it was great to be able to knock off a quick errand in that in-between time.
2) You can pick up lots of different items there -- even some great gifts. Besides school supplies and fancy paper and envelopes, they have snacks, backpacks, DVDs and electronics.
3) They have good rewards programs. Office Depot, OfficeMax and Staples are all fairly close to me, and I have signed up with each of their rewards programs. I have received several rewards vouchers from Staples. They just show up in the mail -- I don't have to request them or anything. OfficeMax frequently has a promotion where if you buy a product (a couple of months ago, it was a case of paper), you received that same amount in a rewards voucher to spend at the store. Office Depot is doing the same thing this month for all copying you do at the store. Also, Office Depot will donate 5 percent of your purchase to your school if they have signed up. Ask before they ring you up.
4) Their coupons are fantastic. There is almost always a good coupon out there for one of the stores, and they usually take competitor's coupons. The one out right now is great: Sign up to get Office Depot e-mails, and you'll get a coupon for $10 or $20 off. Or use this one
. The coupon on the right is good until November 20. Enjoy!