School Year Savings

Don’t worry parents, the sound of school bells will soon be ringing again, and your children will be leaving the pool and heading back to school. Preparing for the upcoming school year can be a financially stressful time. The costs of school materials and clothes add up fast and also seem to be in short supply.

There are many ways you can save on the cost of the upcoming school year.

Shop around. Generally a week or so before school starts stores will have back-to-school savings on all supplies. This is a good time to stock up on supplies that will be used the year round. Many times these prices only come but once a year. Buy a storage container that you can fill with your stock of supplies. During the year if supplies go on sale you can purchase at a low price and add to your supply container.

Also consider storing craft items such as glue, glitter, posterboard, and construction paper. This may prevent a late-night run to the store for a project that is due the next day.

Start with the necessities, paper, pens, notebook paper, and folders. Next, wait until your child brings home the teacher’s list of materials specific for their class. This saves you from buying materials your child may not even need.

Just because a notebook made it through a whole year doesn’t mean you can toss it out. Go through used notebooks and tear out any blank pages that could be used as loose-leaf paper. If there are not a lot of used pages, tear out the pages that have material on it and keep the blank pages intact.

Save and use old pencils, colors, and folders. Your kids will survive if they don’t have the latest “gel-cushion” pen, or cartoon themed pencils. You can get rid of any that are too short or uncomfortable for your child to use.

Save promotional supplies that business’ hand out at home or trade shows. Parades and fairs also can be a source for free supplies. Even around election time free pens and pencils are just waiting to be given out by candidates and political parties.

Some schools have student stores where your child can earn school money for good grades or behavior and then they can use that money to buy pens, pencils, and folders.

Buy the large bottle of glue and fill smaller bottles with it throughout the year. Colored glue can be great for projects. Instead of buying the expensive glue, use a little food coloring and mix it yourself.

Use brown paper sacks for book covers. This way kids can decorate them any way they wish and it can save you from having to pay fees at the end of the year for any damage the book might sustain.

Many schools have programs that provide school supplies for families who simply can not afford them. A personal meeting with the school or teacher can provide you with more information.

Backpacks can be the most costly single item you buy for your child. It’s best to purchase one that you know will last the school year. Garage sales after the previous school year is a good place to find a bargain back pack. Allow your child to have some say in this purchase. It’s not worth buying a cheaper backpack if it’s not going to carry the load or is uncomfortable to carry.

Other ways to save money during the school year is to setup a carpool. Get together with a small group of parents in your neighborhood and work on a schedule taking turns driving your kids to school. This saves you the cost of busing a student and you don’t have the responsibility of driving everyday.

Clothes can be a nightmare when it comes to kids. You would be surprised by the quality you can find at thrift stores. Buying clothes at the end of seasons will save you money. If you find a great deal on an item buy an extra in a size up. Shop online, many retailers have great deals only available through their website. Just make sure to include the price of shipping.

Hand-me-downs are convenient and inexpensive. If one child refuses to wear their sibling’s clothes ask family and friends with children who may have outgrown their own clothes. This way they can still have stylish clothes without the mark-up of store prices.

We wish all students and parents good luck this school year.

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It is our policy at Pioneer Credit Counseling not only to help people get out of debt, but also educate in sound budgeting practices.

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