Year after year you receive a long list of supplies from your kid’s school consisting of supplies that they ‘absolutely need to have’. Sure, there are certain supplies that your children will definitely need in school but they probably will not need to get a geometry set every year. Even if the list says it, they probably just need a compass, protractor, and ruler – everything else in the box will probably never be used.
To avoid spending unnecessarily, here are some ways to shrink your kids’ back to school list:
- Clean out school bags and drawers
You buy your kids’ school supplies every year, right? Yes, some pens, pencils, erasers can get lost but probably not everything. Many times, your kids might claim that they’ve lost something only to find them much later. This year, before you head out the store to stock up on stationery, do some spring-cleaning, empty out your kid’s school bags and all the drawers of the house. You’re sure to find school supplies lying around the house.
- Reuse old notebooks
Each year at the end of spring semester, school children bring home a bunch of notebooks. It’s highly unlikely that all these notebooks have been used up. Notebooks are essential for school but you don’t need a new one for each subject. Go through all the notebooks you have at home before purchasing new ones. Rip out the pages of the books that are barely used and use them instead of buying brand new notebooks.
- Set limits
Young children can get obsessed with the latest movies and TV shows and could insist on buying ‘character-based’ supplies. Know that trends are always changing and with them so would your child’s like and dislikes. Kids who love Elsa and Anna today will be bored of them the next year. Also, trend-based products aren’t usually of the best quality either and will probably not last very long.
This is where you have to put your foot down and tell your child that they couldn’t have school supplies based on their favorite characters. Show them the difference in quality and explain to them why the low-quality products aren’t a good idea.
To prevent buying new lunchboxes and school bags every year, don’t purchase trend-based products.
- Buy in bulk
It is much cheaper to buy items such as pens and erasers in bulk instead of individually. Buying a pack of pens from a wholesale store like Costco can prevent you from heading out to the bookstore at the beginning of every school year. You may not think you can use a pack of 100 pens so get together with a friend, split the pack and share the cost.
- Buy off-season
At a certain point in the summer, stores will have sales on stationary products, this is the best time to hit them up to buy items that you definitely will need to purchase because the prices are significantly lower.
- Share stationary
If you have more than one child, they may be able to share supplied. School instruments such as scientific calculators do not come cheap and your children may not need them at the same time. Take a look at your syllabus and class schedules and determine whether it’s possible to share certain items instead of buying one for each child. Items such as scientific calculators may only be needed during tests since your children can take advantage of online scientific calculators otherwise.
- Don’t take your kids with you
Don’t give your children the option of pointing at items at the store. They will undoubtedly get carried away. Head to the store without them, after having a clear idea of what is REALLY needed. You don’t need the Cars 3 bag pack nor do you need the Barbie pencil-case. Keep things simple and focus on affordable high-quality goods that you need to purchase.
Author: James Smith