Depending upon the area one resides, school has either started their current year sessions or will be beginning the new term in a week or two. Getting all the supplies, clothes and miscellaneous items children need to start off the year is important, so having some tips to get parents started is helpful. There are a few things that need to be looked at before tackling that school supply list to save money along the way.
The first thing parents need to do with their children is to take inventory of all the supplies they already have on hand. Last year’s backpack, desk drawers or even the cupboard for additional school supplies should be checked out so those items can automatically be crossed off the list. No reason to purchase them again if they are already sitting in a cabinet or drawer from last year that weren’t even used.
Once the list has been adjusted to the next big item to look at is the child’s backpack. Not all of them wear out the same and if that carrier was a good one the chances of having to purchase another, is slim. Anyone who is starting out does need to spend a few extra dollars on the better pack since it will last a couple of years unless you have a child that is really rough or abusive to their backpacks.
The end of August and the beginning of September there are lots of sales on school supply items. Take advantage of tax-free sale days in your state. This is the time to make time from your busy day and head to the stores and stock up. Why wait until the prices soar when you can get many of the same items for a fraction of the cost.
Parents need to look at the list closely. There are lots of items listed on these school supply lists that your child may never use. Many of them are designated for the entire class. These items aren’t as important as the ones your child will actually use for his or her school year. Send your child to school with a few small tissue packets instead of purchasing a whole box or more to supply the school with. The same goes for computer paper, most of the time your child won’t be using these reams that are on the list. Those reams of computer paper are for the school to use, which should be included in their budget already. Why spend money you may not have to spare on items your child won’t be using that should be supplied by the school.
There are some lists that are distributed that will say this item is for the class, this supply is in case another student didn’t purchase something on the list and then there are ones that just pop out at you that just seem pointless. Go with your gut on those types of supplies listed and purchase what you know is really a necessity that your child will need and use during the school year.
Crayons, pencils, pens, glue sticks and the like are supplies that don’t need to be purchased new, year after year. If these items at home are still in good shape, were hardly used or still brand new there is no need to buy them again. Cross those items off the list and then and only then start the school supply shopping. It will surprise you how much you can omit and save when you take inventory and eliminate those items that don’t apply to your child.
Be sure to check the list if there are any items or styles that shouldn’t be purchased. If the school says to purchase a plain lunch box and your child wants one with cartoon characters, glitter or a pop star on the front they may be told they can’t bring them back to school to use. This all depends upon the school the child attends and how much they deter from ensuring all children have like supplies and won’t get upset because someone else’s backpack, lunchbox or accessories are better, fancier or more expensive than another’s in class.
Choose quality over quantity depending upon the item. Some items can be bought cheap while others should be purchased with brand names. Backpacks, lunchboxes, crayons and calculators should be of better quality. Pens and pencils are pretty much the same and can be purchased with a no-name brand and still function the same as a name brand writing implement would. Know your child’s needs, what the school is looking for each student to obtain, re-use supplies that are still in great shape instead of getting new replacements and be wary of items on the list that specifically state they aren’t just for your child. The shopping trip will be shorter and the cost will be less if the school supply list is adjusted according to each child’s actual needs. Don’t let the length of the list intimidate you, take charge of that school supply list instead!