You've heard a lot lately about how to stretch your dollars -- Forget that. Now retailers are talking about how to stretch your pennies.
Pity the lowly penny. It won't buy much, not even a gumball. Some people don't know what to do with all the pennies they wind up with, there's even talk of getting rid of the 1 cent piece altogether.
"Pennies? I know people that throw them away, yeah," said Sipaea Webb from Hayward.
"We roll them all up and take them to the bank," said Bob Rosenberg from San Francisco.
"But I have a feeling you are right they'll be going the way of the Dodo," said Ivan Emiliano from San Francisco.
But suddenly, that lowly penny is buying people a lot of stuff. Chain stores like Office Max and Staples have been offering back-to-school supplies for one penny, like a 1 cent pack of glue, and a 1 cent pocket portfolio.
"When we saw the penny for the glue, with three kids, that was a stealer," said Marisela Santana from San Francisco.
Staples did one better, giving away stuff for free like pencils and rulers. And bargains like a nickel for a pencil case.
Make "back to school" look more like "back to the good old days."
"A whole guide of things i could get for a penny or 10 cents," said Anna Costa from San Francisco.
This isn't just for consumers, it helps struggling retailers too.
"They're competing for scarce dollars, people have less to spend. It's not really surprising, but a penny? That's drastic," said Rosenberg.
But with retail sales in a slump lately, stores wanted to cash in on the annual back to school buying frenzy.
"Just to encourage the customers to come into the store and get the free things and helping with the economy," said Staples store manager Tracie Davidson.
The idea is to get customers in the store where they might buy more expensive items too.
"I bought one or two things that weren't in the lower price," said Costa.
"Uh, we tried to limit ourselves, but," said Santana. "I got him some fancy markers, some pens that were a little nicer."
"We'll just go down the list and we'll get whatever we need so, we'll spend more than a penny – guaranteed," said Rosenberg.
Sale items change week to week, and there are deals on school supplies for a dime or a quarter too.