Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Budgeting For Back To School Supplies

I have no tips for you today. In fact, I'm looking for YOUR advice.

I'm amazed at how early school starts for some in other parts of the country. We still have a few weeks until our crew heads back but I know many of you are already getting into the swing of schedules and new routines. This year we are making a big jump going from having only two kids in school to having FOUR roaming the school halls. (I'll share more on my feelings about all of that in a few weeks.)

Somehow in all of my planning I completely missed one important category. I budgeted ZERO for back to school supplies! I actually don't know what I've done in past years for this category. I'm guessing that with only two kids in school I just snagged a little bit out of our grocery money to buy the supplies. With four now in school I realized first hand that that clearly was not possible this time.


Oh my, how supplies quickly add up!

I searched the house for any supplies we already had on hand. We ended up having about 1/5th of the items needed. Then I took the easy way out, grabbed a coupon and went to Target for one stop shopping.  It added up quick. I still have one more child to shop for so I'm wondering...


With years ahead of us of having school aged children, your knowledge could save us a ton! ;-)

Sharing this at:
Living Well Spending Less

24 comments:

  1. HI! Here in South Africa our School year starts in January and runs to December 4 shorter holiday breaks during the year. The way I save on school / stationary supplies for myself and my boy, is to buy it just after schools open (for the following year / term). The goodies are general cheaper and on often on sale. I also purchase items right throughout the year, when I see them on special, and have a cupboard stocked full of things. So when we need to replenish or pack for the new year / terms, we shop from our home :) I often do the same with kiddie gifts too. When I see books and puzzles and general toys on special, I tend to buy some and keep them for birthday parties. It does not take up much storage and really is worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kammi,

      That is a great idea to buy a little throughout the year. That way it wouldn't be such a large one time expense and I love the idea of shopping from home. The only thing I have struggled with is not knowing what the kids are going to need for the following year since each teacher seems to be different. We do the same thing with the gifts...it has come in handy so many times! :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  2. Much like Kammi, I often stock up in the sales after school has started for the following year (I, too, have a stationery stash to shop from for the rest of the year and the next). Otherwise I don't really have that much advice for you! We are sending our kids to a Montessori school this year and the list is really short (and includes wish list items like knitting needles!) so you could always change schools! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catherine,

      Knitting needles!? I want to go to school there! :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  3. I feel your pain. We shopped for 5 kids to go back to school and it was over $200 doing everything the most frugal way possible. (That includes LLbean backpacks 25% off free shipping and free monogram that we hope to never need to replace.) It doesn't help that our school uniform requires an extra 2 pairs of shoes per child beyond what they wear at home. That means 10 extra pairs for us--gag. You are so right, it takes monthly planning to survive school supply season. We put $20 a month aside during the year in an envelope. Last year we forgot to set money aside and had weeping and wailing. In cases like these selling some stuff on craigslist helps us make it through our budget oversight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angela,

      I'm glad I'm not alone! :-) Great idea to sell on craigslist, I have a few items that I've been stalling on listing.

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  4. Sorry if a duplicate....the computer flashed and my comment was gone. I take the time to run around starting in July and buying loss leader products. My favorite store is Staples. I buy whatever looks good and save it for us or donate to back to school drives. Walgreens, Office Max and Office Depot also have some sales. I think Target is convenient but often not as good of sales. Pocket your Dollars has a price list so you know what a good price is. And we buy a ton of school supplies at Menard's. They have free or very cheap after rebate items. The rebates are in the form of store credit, but we tend to shop at Menard's year round for home repair items and also I just keep the rebates going. They have great sales/rebate offers year round.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keturah,

      We shop at Menards too, I never thought of shopping there for school supplies.

      ~Sarah

      Delete
    2. We get the Sunday paper and I always scan the Menard's ad. We're probably fortunate in that my husband is a licensed contractor, so he's always running there for something. But a lot of their ads run for 2 weeks (though rebate items are more of a sure bet if you go early in the cycle vs. late).

      Delete
  5. Oh, for school uniforms I shop at Thrift stores year round. I have found great uniform options at Unique Thrift Stores. I go on Tuesdays to get 25% off or on their 50% off holiday days. And Land's End Inlets have backpacks for a good price. If they are monogrammed you get even more off. You can seam rip the monogram off or put a patch over it. I also have an ongoing stash of things. I always buy more to replenish our general stash at back to school time, like Crayola markers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keturah,

      This reminds me of a winter jacket that our oldest son has been wearing for the past two years. It was a great hand me down coat but had a random name stitched on the front. I wasn't able to remove it...I wonder if anyone has called him that name by mistake before. :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  6. I always relied heavily on Walmart's prices for supplies. Also, when notebooks and paper were ridiculously priced at 15 cents I bought a whole box. Notecards are something to stock up on also. I just save the extras to help out through the year. I usually have things still on hand the following year. I've also been known to buy smaller packs of crayons, markers and pencils and then supplementing later in the fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patti,

      Good idea and I like the option of less running around and shopping at one store.

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  7. Land's End backpack sale for 40% off and a free shipping code for 8/14/14 if this gets moderated in time and someone sees it. http://www.southernsavers.com/2014/08/lands-end-deal-40-backpacks/?preview=true

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oops...that shipping code is 8/13 only....sorry, one day off on the date with my last comment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is my first year sending kids to public school (1st grade and kinder). I thought about using coupons and looking for the best sales, but quickly got overwhelmed. So I just went to Wal-Mart on our State's tax-free weekend and got most of the supplies then. It was an easy way to save some money, although I'm sure we could've saved more if I had put some effort towards coupons and things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Katy,

      Does every state do a tax-free weekend? I've never heard of that before!

      ~Sarah

      Delete
    2. Not all of them do but it's been a growing trend over the past few years. http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/finance-accounting/2014/08/13/sales-tax-holiday-round-up-heres-whats-tax-free-in-your-state/

      Delete
    3. Interesting, thanks for posting Keturah!

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  10. As a teacher I say please buy what is on the list. It all has a purpose. Also, please please please please buy name brand writing and art supplies. (Crayola crayons, Elmers gluesticks, Ticonderoga pencils, Bic mechanical pencils, Fiskars scissors, etc) The price is usually only a few cents more and it makes a huge difference! Store brand ones do not work well at all and I usually have to replace them out of pocket. I know we give out our supply lists in May so parents have all summer to shop spreading out the cost. Also talk to your child's teacher. School supplies are meant to last most of the year so there may be some things you can hold off on in the beginning if you will provide them later when they are needed. :) I hope your babies have a fabulous year!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear a teacher's perspective! Thanks for sharing Jennings. :-) I've never considered why the various brands were important. Now I know!

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  11. How much did you spend this year on supplies? Divide that number by 12 and set aside that amout of $ each month until next year. By the time Back to School 2015 hits you'll have the money to go buy supplies smartly without budget worry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't remember how much was spent but I will definitely estimate and do this! That way it won't "sneak up" on me again. :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  12. To save time and energy, I shop online for my kids school supplies. We recently discovered a one stop shop that offers great discounts. You too might want to check them out -- http://SuppliesForSchool.net


    Hope this helps.

    Anne

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting, I read every single one. Because spam is so prevalent I moderate all comments. I also will delete any that are inappropriate or hurtful. All other comments will be approved and published in between me chasing around my five little tornadoes! For any specific questions feel free to email me at aninvitinghome@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and following along!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...