August is upon us once again. The collective “UGH!” is heard nationwide as families trudge toward the school supplies aisle in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Sadly, the “days-gone-by” supplies such as a box of crayons, spiral-ring notebooks and a pack of #2 pencils have evolved into a much longer list. But never fear, we’ve put together these useful tips to help you do “back to school” on the cheap.
- Recycle older children’s supplies. In our world of waste conscientiousness, why not teach children it’s perfectly acceptable to repurpose school supplies? Throw those backpacks in the washing machine. They’ll look just like new!
- Check with friends who have children. Before you buy that higher math calculator or the latest technological gadget required for a modern education, ask a friend with a graduating student if you can purchase their used items before you pay full price.
- Inquire about your community’s back-to-school relief projects. Do some research online or stop by your local Chamber of Commerce to gather information on organizations that offer school supplies aid such as Lions Club, Rotary Club, Masons, churches and other non-profits.
- Open a savings account. Setting aside a small amount each month will be considerably less painful than paying for everything at once. To make saving easier, restrict yourself from eating out more than a few times a month or scale back your latte purchases. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save.
- Research and prepare ahead of time. Set a good example for your little learners and do your homework. Compare sale ads, clip coupons or find out if your area offers a tax-free shopping weekend. Proper preparation can save you some serious green.
Best wishes to all the families facing the back-to-school frenzy. Take a deep breath. You got this. Or, as my English teacher would say, “You have this!”