It’s frugal friday again! I know none of us want to think about the fact that the new school year is just around the corner (well, unless your kids are driving you crazy like mine are!) but after the 4th of July, that’s what I start thinking about. I don’t like to fight the crowds at my local superstore with my LONG school supply list for each of my kids. Is it just me or does it seem like those supply lists get a little longer each year?? Trying to prepare for a new school year on a small budget can seem like an impossible task but here are a few things I have found to save us a large wad of cash each year.
- Shop ahead of time. If you wait till the last-minute, you will be forced to pay whatever the current price is. School clothes usually start to go on sale in July and I have found some GREAT deals shopping online. If you REALLY want to save some cash, shop for your school clothes even earlier in the year. My kids go to a charter school so they are required to wear uniforms. If I shop online right when school gets out, sometimes I can find polos and khaki pants on clearance. Thrift stores are another option, but honestly, you can get new clothes for almost the same price if you shop early enough!
- Reuse or by used backpacks. New backpacks can be expensive. I have found it is better to buy high quality backpacks that cost a little more so they will last several years or buy used backpacks at my local thrift store that are still in great condition. Don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest backpack at Wal-Mart. You might end up having to buy another half way through the year! (speaking from personal experience!)
- Buy in Bulk. If you have several kids you are shopping for, buy similar school supplies in bulk and split them up. I also like to stock up during back to school sales for the ENTIRE year. If your kids go through pencils, glue and crayons like mine do , now is the time to stock up while prices are low.
- Price match. Some of your school supplies can hit rock bottom prices at different stores but who wants to drive around to all of them? I usually just price match at Wal-Mart. It’s not my favorite place to shop, but the only store that price matches in my area.
- Buy GOOD shoes! Whether you are buying brand new or used, make sure the shoes you buy are high quality and will get your kids through the school year. It’s such a budget buster when you get a crappy pair of shoes that have to be replaced after a couple of months! (speaking from personal experience here again!)
- Lunches! If you are planning on making your kid’s school lunches, here are a few things that will save you some money: Buy reusable lunch bags and water bottles, make peanut butter sandwiches in bulk ahead of time and freeze (saves time and money), and buy chips or other snacks in bulk and bag them yourself rather than buying single serve packages. Homemade cookies can also be made in bulk and frozen in individual baggies and thrown into lunches. Add a cute note or joke for the day to your child’s lunch to make it fun and let them know you love them!
A Fantastic school year does not have to be expensive! If you start while your kids are young, they will never “expect” the expensive name brand clothes and accessories. Being frugal doesn’t have to be a drag and you can use the money you save to take your kids somewhere fun on their first day off school!
What other ways have you found to save money in preparing for a new school year?