I totaled the receipts. This year we spent about $270 on back to school supplies – things like crayons, pencils, backpack, lunchbox, and such along with new clothes and tennis shoes. According to a 2012 article in the Huffington Post, the average spending on back to school items per child nationwide is almost $200. That same article went on to say that an American Express survey put the cost for an average family of four at $800. Bottom line - it’s expensive to send your child to school. Here are three things I learned this past year:
• Buy all the classroom supplies at the beginning of the year. For Kindergarten, Gray’s list was broken into two semesters so I only purchased the first semester items at the beginning of the year. Why would I want to spend money when I didn’t have to? Then in January, I went to purchase the remaining supplies. I had to pay full price for things like crayons and pencils. I should have stocked up on them at the beginning of the year when they were insanely marked down. It hurt to pay over a $1 for a 24 pack of crayons when just a few months prior, I paid 19 cents a pack.
• Buy a size ahead. I recently got a pair of Sperry tennis shoes for $4.25. It was the last pair this store had. They are a size too big but when he outgrows his current tennis shoes, he will be ready for these. He also has polo shirts two sizes too big hanging in his closet. When you can get a name-brand polo shirt for $3 and can plan for it, why not? Just be careful not to let them pass that size by.
• I am going to start repurposing items. Gray is a long-legged skinny thing. Since he is a boy, I don’t think jean capris are acceptable. So I thought -- why not cut jeans off and make them shorts? Of course since I cannot sew, I am going to ask my mom to help me with this project. If you can’t sew, A Cleaner World’s alteration department can help you out.
There are tons of ways to cut corners and save a few dollars as you prepare for school. Also try things like sharing with friends, hitting yard sales, and if you are in the Triad checking out WeeRuns. If you have some back-to-school saving secrets, we’d love to hear them! Just leave a comment below, on our Facebook page, or tweet us @cleaner_world.