Back. To. School. Whether you love this time of year or loathe it you have to prep for it no matter what. Personally I love back to school time. No, not just because my kids are out of the house, but because I love school supplies. I’m the nerd that likes freshly sharpened pencils, the smell of books, and the possibility that lays in a college-ruled notebook. Never wide ruled. Ew.
Besides stocking up on school supplies I love a good inventory and list. I already took stock and we have a dozen backpacks. The perils of being a blogger, I suppose.
I’ll share what I’ve learned from years of back to school shopping to help you stick to your budget, no matter how small it is. I’m prepping my list this afternoon, and waiting on back to school supply lists from my kids’ teachers to round it out.
11 Tips To Go Back To School On A Budget
1. Take Stock: Take inventory of all that you do have on hand including supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoes, and lunch needs.
2. Make a List: I know I share this a lot. I’m a big fan of list making. You need to write everything from socks to highlighters.
3. Set a Budget: Set a budget for yourself and stick to it. That may mean going with cheaper versions of some items, but be sure to focus your spending on where it counts. For my family that’s lunch boxes and backpacks that will last all year.
4. Have Kids Pitch In: If your kids are begging for something that’s out of your budget ask them to pitch in their own money. Whether through extra chores or their savings they can help make up the difference in cost between discount and label brands.
5. Check with School: Many schools offer items to students at no cost, and often the list of very specific items your child needs is different from what you think they may need.
6. Stalk Sales: While it may seem counter-intuitive sales are actually pretty amazing during the back to school shopping season. Glue may cost 1 ¢ (on super sale) or $1, but if you pick up the same glue in November it’s $2.59.
7. Stock Up: Speaking of sales, stock up! Whether it’s 1 ¢ glue or BTS clearance, stock up for the coming year. You know you’ll need that third pack of crayons, and 5th folder before the end of the year.
8. Reuse: Reuse whatever you can. Book covers, backpacks, lunch bags, and even summer clothing gets reused for back to school.
9. Skip New Clothes: For most kids their summer wardrobe is their back to school wardrobe. Shorts an tees, dresses, and lightweight clothes are still necessary for the first month or so of school. Then you can add layers like sweatshirts, cardigans, tights, and other layers to make them fall-ready. For kids that wear uniforms look for their basics on super discount, and see if parents of older kids have hand me downs they are willing to sell you for a huge cost savings.
10. Wait it Out: Instead of spending money on back to school items before school starts consider waiting until items are deeply discounted especially if you still have some stock from last year.
11. Plan a 1st Day Back Activity: Any parent will tell you there are lots of tears and bittersweet moments on the first day back. Make sure you plan so time with other parents (or kids that are still at home), or something to keep yourself busy so you don’t think too much about how big your kids have gotten.
How are you prepping for back to school? Any advice I missed on sticking to your budget?