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Back to School Bootcamp: Budget Basics

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I love that commercial, with the giddy dad pushing a shopping cart, stocking up on back-to-school items, two kids following him as the song "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays. Ah, the start of a new school year. For some of us, our kids are heading to a new school, so nerves and a bit of anxiety may be juggling about the air. Others have little ones returning to the same institute of learning they were at last year. Doesn't matter which scenario you are tackling this fall, we have to get ready, buy school supplies, clothes and essentials - which can make a huge dent in our family piggy bank. Before you head to the store, we've got some good back-to-school shopping reminders! 

-- Check out what you already have. Any notebooks still around? What about those No. 2 pencils? Look over what you need to get and the piles you still have leftover from last year.

-- Buy bulk. Especially when you have a few kids in school, bulk-buying pencils, pens, computer paper and stuff they all use can save you money. Think about it: they will need notebooks in December and January too. Stock up now with the good deals.

-- Check online. If you get free shipping from sites such as Amazon and Staples, see what kind of sales they may have.

-- Make a list and stick to the list. Use the list they teachers give and then sit down with your kiddo to add anything else she may think she will need. When you are shopping, stick to it. There will be loads of other items out there, on sale, that will attract your attention. By sticking to that list, you will stay on budget.

-- Hold off on some stuff until school starts. This is especially true for clothes (which we'll chat about tomorrow), but it goes for other items that she may not need right away. The prices will drop even more once the first day has come and gone.

How are you tacking back-to-school shopping? Share your hints here! 



by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 9:06 AM

this is how we do it too. it just makes more sense for us. i also buy through the year and often have lots already.

Quoting ShannanAjluni:

We usually only buy the BASICS (backpack, binder, paper, dividers, etc) before school starts. Then after a week or two, the kids know what they really need (does a highschooler REALLY need colored pencils? Not usually) and what they don't and we stock up when all the back to school overstocj goes on sale.

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 9:30 AM

wasnt that bad.. at all. I just bought what we needed..

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM
We stick to the list and some things wait til after school starts
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by Bronze Member on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM

look for the back to school sales 

by Bronze Member on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Great Ideas! 

Quoting yvonne37:

 checking what you already have is the first thing I do... my son tells me "here mom, these are the things I have left that I can use next year" and I put them away (pencils, pens, notebooks, lose paper, etc) My daughter starts first grade so she needs everything new.

And then I do the last one... we hold off until about the second day of school. first they dont really need much the first day and second you get really good deals after school starts.

I dont buy them bookcovers (like the material ones) I make them myself of we cover their books with recycled gift wrap.. they love it because they can decorate it as they please and its different.

I grab pencils when their is a fair during summer... our town has about 3 fairs/parades during summer and they have vendors and booths with free stuff.. i grab all the pens and pencils i can (sometimes even rulers lol) then keep them for when school starts.

Go to the $1 bins.. staples and target has them.

If you have left over crayons and your children are small.. melt them! make new ones in cute molds.

by Dawn on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:22 AM
We stock up for the next year when they put the supplies on clearance!
by Bronze Member on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I shop at Staples and buy when they are having their $1 sales.  By the time school rolls around, I have almost everything.

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:31 AM
I shop clearance sales year round and buy things out of season.
by Bronze Member on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Great ideas-especially making a list!

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Oh and by the way when you only but what you think your child NEEDS in school and not what is on the list you are hurting your child. Get what is on the list for your child. I understand that everyone is on a budget...believe me. But there are lists for a reason.
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