8 Simple Ideas for Keeping Back To School Shopping Affordable

As a parent we all can see and feel the cost of living is going up and many items needed everyday are more expensive and $10 does not buy as much as it use to. This is even more true with kids school supplies becoming more costly . Not only are the costs going up but the need to buy and obtain so many different supplies have increased as well. To help you cut back on spending this year are 8 different ways to help you save on back to school costs.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pencils_hb.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pencils_hb.jpg | Source

Ideas for keeping back to school more affordable

Be sure to setup a budget - Making sure to have a total amount you are able to spend in mind on what you can afford in total. Then break that down into how much you can spend per kid. Some parents who will read this, may think this is wrong to do, However it is unlikely that your child in grade 4 will need as much as your child in grade 8. I may be wrong on this, but I doubt it. Lastly when you’re setting up your budget make sure you go into it with a realistic approach with a clear mind and of course if it is possible, you should stay off the credit cards.

Do your kids like it? Its great when you find a something on sale such as a backpack at a discounted price and contains a picture of something you thought your child would like. Then it turns out the item or picture “was so last year”. If they don’t like it they won’t use, and if you force them to still use it, chances are it will get left in their lockers, stolen, lost, or easily wrecked because they won’t care about it.

Bring kids with you if you can - I know some might say I'm crazy but this helps solve #2 listed above. If you bring them and they give their feed back on it. Not only are you building time together, but also allowing them to make the final choice for themselves which helps build responsibility . If after they don’t like it, well then it is too bad, since they said they liked it earlier.

Lists by grade – There used to be a sheet that went home either from the schools or from the teachers that would have a list explaining everything they may need for that grade. Most teachers don’t do this anymore; however some teachers may send this home or will tell you if you just ask them.

Washable and dry able lunch bag - This is the part I would not go cheap on. Having a reliable, easy to wash lunch bag or a stainless steel container of good quality is worth it in the long run. Also a good idea that you take the time to read and make sure how to properly clean it.

What about technology? – Are your kids in need of a Smartphone to stay connected? Or will they need it encase of an emergency? Probably not depending on where you live, but that is up to you to decide. However what about other technology needs? What you need can be different depending on what school your kids go to. Useful tools such as having a USB key for an example is generally a useful piece of technology. I would suggest giving them an old 6gb or 8gb USB Key to use and buy yourself the newer one. Lastly if your kids are older and are using Ipads, or laptops, be sure to buy a suitable backpack for this and their other technological needs. It is not a good idea to be putting your lunch, laptop and books all in the same backpack opening if you don't have to.

School Backpack
School Backpack | Source

Keep some supplies at home – You don’t need to send your kids to school with a new backpack full of everything you have just bought them. Keep some of the stuff at home. If you bought a package of 12 pencils, then send them with 4 only. This way they don’t lose, or lend out the rest in the first week and they don’t have to haul all the extra weight.

Current at home inventory – It is a good idea to clean up and look for what you have lying around the house already. You will be surprised on how much you still have. I’ve found countless pencils and pens, unused notebooks, and even binders still in the package of 3. Knowing what you currently have will let you reduce what you need, thus saving you money.

In the end, all parents want to give their kids the best they can give, but some times we give more than they need and could be spoiling them. Don't get caught up in the hype, stay cool, plan, and just be glad they are going back.

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