It’s back to school time but is your wallet ready for the expense? With notebooks, pencils, crayons, new shoes and lunchboxes the cost at the register will have any parent, guardian or grandparent feeling the back to school blues. There was a great report by on Shelby Star on the cost of school supplies and everything can really add up and according to the article the average spent per child is $688.62! For families with multiple children or uniforms this is not an easy number to fork out of your pocket – who has that type of extra cash?
Is it all Necessary?
Yes, kids want new jeans and a backpack but there are some clever ways to get thrifty when it comes to back to school shopping. I remember the excitement of wearing my new shoes and having fresh new pencils – I wouldn’t want to deprive any child of this excitement and anticipation but I’m not all for parenting going broke or in debt either!
There’s no need to break the bank with these 5 back to school shopping tips:
1. Thrift Store Shopping. Yes, there are some great deals to be found when hitting the local thrift stores and you’ll be surprised to find gently new or even brand new items with tags on them. Make it fun for the kids and have them help you “hunt” for their size or items they like. I often explain that when shopping at my local Gold Mind or Goodwill I’m helping those in need. The shopping has a purpose, saves you money and teaches the children a good lesson.
2. Have a Clothing Swap. Invite friends and family over with children that are approximately the same age or have kids within a few years of each other. Ask them to bring a grocery bag full of items that do not fit their child anymore. Everyone can swap gently used items and for the cost of some cookies and beverages you’ll have a good time, help stock the kid’s closets and have fun!
3. Make Backpacks New. Wash last years backpack and with some iron on patches that your child picks out you have a new and unique backpack. A one of a kind that no other kid at school will have and choosing the backpacks and ironing on the patches makes the project way more fun than buying a new one!
4. Reuse Old Binders. Why buy more plastic binders when last year’s 3-ring binder is in great shape. With stickers, glue on jewels, markers and colored contact paper or even patterned duct tape you have a new and stylish binder. The process will be fun and something to do before school starts. I promise your child will want to do this again and again and so will their friends so beware!
5. Shop after school starts. Do the kids really need new clothing the first day of school? Consider waiting until they need warmer clothing, jackets, hats and jeans. The first few weeks of schools my kids wear their summer clothing and sweatshirts. This gives you more time to save and look for good deals or clearance items after the back to school rush dies down!
Good luck with the back to school shopping and remember to stick to the list and have a great first day back!