Save Money on School Supplies

kids-back-to-school-is-coolAugust is one of those bittersweet months. The summer is fast flying by- and the onset of cooler temperatures and the long winter is approaching more quickly.

But with the end of August comes back-to-school (cue celebratory music)!

There is a great deal of shopping to be done pre-September, but let’s look specifically today at school supplies, and how to keep those kinds of costs in check.

Reality Check

As soon as your kids are old enough to board the school bus, they become keenly aware of all the extra bells and whistles you can accumulate- via the school supply route, and may be chanting, “I need, I need”.

Chances are your school sent home a supply list at the end of the year, or has posted one on their website. Check these teacher-approved lists before you decide if the kids “need” or want.

Shop at Home

And no, I don’t mean online, in the comfort of your home. Do a sweep of your drawers (how many pens and paper clips are hiding in your junk drawer)?

You would be surprised at what you already have on hand. Don’t spend needlessly and do an inventory before you go out.

Age Appropriate

Does your third-grader need a calculator? Probably not. A binder plastered with their NHL superstars? Also probably not. However your middle school and high school aged kids will need such things (minus the NHL superstar part).

Even if you can’t get your hands on a school supply list, stick to the basics- and use your child’s age and grade as the guide. What sort of things are they learning this year?

Think of things like glue sticks, scissors, pencil crayons and a pencil case.

Dollar Store

While you can drop a significant amount at a business supply store or department store, you can gather much of what you need at the dollar store- like pens, pencils, notebooks, sharpeners and erasers.

Look for chances to buy in bulk as well, which can defray the cost.

Spread it Out

There is no need to rush out today and stock up for the entire year. You can spread the cost out and keep the cash flow happy by allocating some spending each month (or bi-monthly) for school supply and miscellaneous items.