Thursday, September 8, 2011

School Time Savings Part 1

 Do you go broke every year buying school supplies? From new clothes to shared supplies your money wont go very far.  Over the years I have learned how to save money in just about every possible way.  I know its a little late getting this to you but better late than never.I will be writing a few post in the next few days covering everything from supplies to clothes.  First post will be about supplies so enjoy and add a comment if you feel I have left anything out.

1.  At the end of the school year kids are sent home with supplies they didn't end up using which we keep everything and save it for the following year.  Then when we get the new school supplies list I simply go through what we already have and reuse them.  Shared items must be new but individual supplies can be used.  Colored pencils, pencils, markers, etc.  Reuse what you can and only then make a list of what you need to actually buy new. 

2.  Keep a list in your purse of things the kids will need to be bought new and always carry it on you.  I don't do one big purchase trip but instead each time I'm at the store I browse the school area and if its a good deal I will buy it.  Some stores will get you into their store with one good deal but all their other supplies are regular price.  That is how they make their money to be wise to it. Remember multi packs are now always good deals so do your math.  Always look for a Eco friendly options and non-plastic packaging.  Sometimes they are a tiny bit more expensive but worth it in the long run.

3. Reuse anything possible.  For example we reused backpacks from last year because they were in perfect condition and we didn't need to go buy new ones.  This saved me a good $100! My two older girls are reusing their lunch boxes because they are vintage and still in perfect working order.  Garfield and Mermaid are always in style.  My twins are in 1st grade this year so they wanted new lunch boxes.  I found some metal lunch boxes at Old Navy for $10 each. Yes a bit expensive but I'll tell you why I purchased them.  They had Smurfs on them and not just any Smurfs. Vintage style ones and not the new Smurf movies ones (which are lame!). The metal box has metal clasp and plastic handle just like the ones from when I was little so I know they will last. If the plastic handle brakes I can make a new handle very easily.  These can be easily hand washed or thrown in the dishwasher.  Each classroom has a bin they put all the lunches in and someone will always get a smashed lunch because most are fabric bags.  Not ours! We also are reusing our fabric bags, bamboo utensils and fabric napkins.  You get the idea.

4.  Family help-Each year my mother goes on a craze to find school supplies at the lowest possible prices.  She has been doing this since I was little, after I left the house and even before I had kids.  Its her calling I guess.  If I ever need something but cannot seem to find it I simply send her a email with the list and she almost always comes through for me.  She enjoys it and I get what I need.  So let those family members or family friends help out if they want.  Even if we don't need things its okay.  You can never have too many glue sticks! Just remember to recycle them!

5. Don't always stick to the list! My oldest daughter brings home a generic school list that honestly the teachers never need any of the items.  Almost always the teachers send home their own list and I have to go spend more money which drives me nuts.  Instead I don't buy a thing and when she comes home with her list I then will buy the items. Its usually only a few items that are pretty cheap.  Remember this when your kids get into middle school or high school.

Hopefully this helps out some of you. Did I miss anything when it comes to supplies?
How do you save money?

No comments: