Programs that support military families
Organizations like Operation Homefront at Fort Campbell offers backpacks and supplies to children of deployed, wounded, and active duty service members in the ranks of E1 - E6 residing in Tennessee and Kentucky annually.
You can also contact your local Red Cross Organization to find out if they are hosting school supply drives for back to school time, like the Kentucky branch, who has teamed up with Operation Homefront as well.
City programs for those who qualify
Look locally to organizations such as the Alameda Education Foundation for back to school programs that distribute free school supplies and backpacks to families in need in your area. There are programs like School on Wheels offers free tutoring, backpacks and school supplies for kids of families without a home, so dig a little to find the best resources for which you or someone you may know qualifies.
>> Discover 6 tips for getting your household ready for back to school time
Stores that offer free school supplies
Sometimes with a minimum purchase, others when you pair with another product, or even simply with a rebate, parents can pick up back to school supplies for free when you hit your major office supply retailer at the right time. Check out your weekly Staples, Office Depot or Office Max advertisement for their current promotions.
Buy one, get one free shopping
Your local department stores like Target, Wal Mart and Toys R Us offer buy one, get one free sales on tons of back to school supplies, from notebooks to pencils right before school's back in session.
Check for deals at online retailers, such as DollarDays.com, offering a deal of the day in addition to wholesale purchases on school supplies, such as a BOGO offer on backpacks. However, being wholesale prices, you often have to buy in bulk, so either stock up for the school year or go in with a friend or family member to cash in on big, free back to school savings.
>> Check out ideas for versatile back to school fashions that can save you money
Sales tax-free shopping days
In 17 states across the country this year, you can shop for school supplies without paying sales tax. These sales tax-free shopping days usually occur during the month of August, most commonly for just a designated weekend. Tax-free savings apply to purchases such as school supplies, clothing, shoes and computers.
Check the Federation of Tax Administrator's list of sales tax holiday states, dates, and qualifying items.
Looking for a way to give back? Search All For Good to find local school supply drives to donate school supplies to children in your area. And, if you can't find one already established, you can certainly take the initiative to organize one of your own. Because once you learn how to score your back to school supplies for free, you'll certainly want to pass on the feel-good savings to other families in need.
More on back to school
12 Must-do rules for back to school
Back to school: Getting your child into learning mode
10 Back to school health products for kids