Summer time has hit its mid-point and how I know this is our Meijer and Walmart stores are now carrying school supplies. School supplies already! I’m a bit torn about this. Part of me is so ready for my kiddos to be back in school. Summer with the kiddos is great and all but the constant arguing over toys and endless whining over who got one more M&M, can get tiring. But I’m also not ready to send my sweet boy back to school. This whole summer he grew up suddenly and now I no longer get hugs and I love yous when I drop him off at summer camp. He is now instantly embarrassed about anything and everything that involves me L. Makes me sad but I know he is just trying to be cool and impress his friends. And to be honest I can absolutely do a great job of embarrassing the kids, though not intentional.
So back to the whole school topic. We all know that school means kids excited to learn…. But more than anything it means lots of money, lots and lots of money. School supplies are not cheap! Factor in backpacks, lunchboxes, clothing, shoes, sports gear, paper, pencils, every extracurricular cost known to GOD, and of course the endless fundraising (better known as us parenting buying things we really don’t need or want to help our kiddos out).
If you are someone on a budget, back to school can be hard to do, for some even impossible. There are so many great donation opportunities to get school supplies into the hands of deserving children. If you do not qualify for donations or perhaps you are just living on a very strict budget, finding ways to save money is imperative. TO help save money this school year, there are plenty of great ways to save.
The first and foremost way to save money on back to school is clothing. Back to school clothing is most the most expensive aspect of school. Check out your local resale store/thrift store/second hand store/ consignment store. This year to save money on my kids clothing, I took all the kids clothing they have grown out of or will probably never wear and took them to the consignment store. Old toys they didn’t play with, home items, basically anything and everything not essential to our daily living was taken to the consignment store. And though it took about a month, I made over $150.00 on items that were just taking up space. That’s $150 towards school clothing or the consignment store lets you use the 150.00 towards in store credit. Before kids I was never a thrift store person but by learning how expensive kids clothing is and that many consignment items are in great condition, I now love consignment stores and honestly look there for kid’s items prior to spending at the big box stores.
The second way to save on back to school is by packing lunches versus buying school lunches. School lunches can be pricey. They often also don’t satisfy a child’s appetite. My son said the food looks gross and tastes just as bad. Now this comes from a child, who would probably eat a chicken nugget off a dirty floor if I let him. Which I wouldn’t, but he might try. I hate the idea of paying for food to be wasted, which seems to be a very consistent issue among my other mother friends and their children. So, to make sure my sweet boy gets all the food he needs, we pack lunches. Packed lunches may seem expensive, but if you do a breakdown of cost, it can be cheaper. Especially this is true if you shop the sales.
The last way to save money during back to school is to shop for school clothes the year prior. Towards the end of the school year, clothing goes on super clearance. You can get school clothing for practically nothing. This includes the more expensive items like snow boots and winter jackets. I could get my daughter a brand-new winter jacket from sears for 4.90. that’s right 4.90. It was heading towards summer and they had all these clearance items. Now I do this with clothing every year for every season for my kids. I can’t even begin to say how much money I have saved. You know the kids are going to grow, so I will stock up on about 2 sizes in advance. Now I try not to get things that may seem out of trend by next year. But for the most part, for kids, there are not that many trends in elementary school. I do this same thing for shoes. TO save even more on shoes, check out the sales at Outlet Stores. Nike, Adidas, Sketchers, and other brand outlet shoe stores will do the same sales toward the end of summer to get rid of the fall shoes for the summer shoes. I could get Nikes for 10.00 a pair at the outlet stores in Loveland, Colorado. That’s practically unheard of for Nikes shoes.
So really to save the most on back to school it simply takes: shopping sales, shopping seasons ahead, planning lunches based on discounts and sales, and overall just trying to stay budget savvy. I wish I had a great savings idea for extracurricular costs but often those are just expenses we need to factor in. Believe me if I could find a way to make Basketball or Hockey cheaper, I would. But alas, the savings I have from everything else, makes paying for these things less hard on the budget.
I hope you can enjoy this last month of summer with your littles. I also wish your children a great new school year. Give them hugs before they are too cool to let you have them!