Getting ready for heading back to school is a period of the year where the pressure is on the parents more than the kids. Children are off enjoying the summer, and they’re not oriented on worrying about school supplies in the middle of July. After all, school doesn’t start until the end of August, right?
That’s true, but preparing for going back to school means parents really do need to start preparing ahead of time. Waiting until the week before school to sort out supplies, buy schoolbags, and shop for clothes in a rush is a bad idea and only adds to the stress and costs. Taking the time to prepare means the back-to-school money crunch is something other parents have to deal with – not you.
Here are some ideas to help trim the back-to-school budget.
- When you receive the list of supplies that your child needs, you may feel the need to scramble to the stores. Don’t worry; there are plenty of supplies to go around and your child won’t be lacking anything. Carry your list in your purse at all times, and shop over a period of time, keeping an eye out for sales. Shop on your own, too. Don’t bring the kids along, because that’s a situation that guarantees your children will hone in on the most expensive and flashiest school supplies available.
- Avoid buying the gear with the latest cartoon character on it. While your child may love the current characters from the Disney cartoons, in six months that same character will fall from favor, replaced by another. The emblazoned lunchbox and schoolbag so loved at the beginning of the year will end up being items the child doesn’t like any more.
- Speaking of lunchboxes, the best ones on the market today are thermal and soft-sided. These lunchboxes keep food cool and safe for consumption, as there aren’t any refrigerators for student use in most schools. Avoid using zip-lock baggies and choose some reusable plastic containers with leak-proof seals instead. A thermos is a nice idea for hot meals during cold winter months. Keep in mind that kids love fast, easy food.
- Choose sturdy schoolbags that are well made and durable. Kids put their schoolbags through some pretty rough treatment, and the “cool” bags often end up with rips and tears midway through the school year. Backpacks are a better choice, and you can even select great ones from the camping section of a store. Kids will love the zippers and pockets on these backpacks, and parents enjoy the ergonomic value the bags provide. Backpacks will be on sale too, as the summer season winds down!
- Many parents stock up on new clothing for school during the summer. Shop for pieces that kids can mix-and-match together. A very good-sized wardrobe for kids is ten different shirts and seven pairs of pants in interchangeable colors and styles. Try to avoid the “in” thing, as it won’t be “in” six months down the road. On the other hand, being “in” is important to teens and peer acceptance, so allow your teen to select one or two pieces of clothing that are hot fashion as a bit of a compromise.
There are plenty of other tips that help make the transition back to school a breeze, but beginning with these thrifty ideas is a start. You’ll be able to cut corners on expenses and provide your kids with what they need to start the school year right.