With supply sheets in hand, millions are hitting the stores for paper, pencils, erasers, notebooks, binders, calculators, pens, rulers, and anything else under the sun that your student is going to need. As the items are scanned through the checkout line, a wave of panic starts to sink in. This is going to cost you a small fortune.
And, it happens every year.
Unfortunately, this is the case for many families. The cost of school supplies has risen in the last decade and families are left to get creative when saving for the high cost. Are there are helpful tips to keep in the back of your mind? You bet there are.
KNOW WHAT YOU NEED ~ What you bought was a backpack, a pair of scissors, a pencil sharpener, ten pencils, a pencil holder, a pack of markers, a pack of colored pencils, a glue stick, a package of erasers and just in case three pretty folders. What you needed was a backpack and a ream of copy paper. Bottom line: know what you need before you plan and before you go.
DON’T FALL PREY TO FANCY FADS ~ Remind your children and yourself that having the best of everything does not make you a better person. And while having all these designer binders or crazy pens with large flowers glued to them are cool, in the big picture of life they are not going to turn your child into a successful adult. Most of the fad products out there can be homemade for cheaper. Gluing fake flowers to the pens at home or using self-decorated paper grocery bags for text book covers are just some of the ways to save.
SHOP AROUND, BUT NOT TOO MUCH ~ Most stores have sale flyers, but even if they don’t they do have websites. Do check the prices with many different stores with your list of things you need. Don’t drive around to too many stores attempting to save on everything. Saving $1.00 per binder may seem great, until you’ve driven across town, using $4.00 in gas to get to the other store. Take the list and the prices and plan your route. Yes, planning does take time and most days, time is something we have the least of, but in this economy everyone should make time to save money.
SAVE FOR NEXT YEAR ~ Save the unused supplies and recycle the old supplies if you can. If you are the over-excited parent like me and you have found yourself with extra supplies, put them in a box up in a closet for next year. And at the end of the school year, if binders, erasers, scissors, pencils, sharpeners, and folders are still in useable shape, throw them in the box too. Sure there will be new designs out next year; however, there is no point in buying things twice.
STASH EXTRA CASH ~ Throughout the year, if you find an extra $5.00 in your wallet, or have some extra change in your purse at night, toss it into the box with the supplies. Maybe within a year you could stash away enough cash that come August it’s not a scramble to get the funds for another year of school supplies.
Good luck and happy shopping!