The Family Piggy Bank

Back to School Bootcamp: Budget Basics
August 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM

I love that commercial, with the giddy dad pushing a shopping cart, stocking up on back-to-school items, two kids following him as the song "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays. Ah, the start of a new school year. For some of us, our kids are heading to a new school, so nerves and a bit of anxiety may be juggling about the air. Others have little ones returning to the same institute of learning they were at last year. Doesn't matter which scenario you are tackling this fall, we have to get ready, buy school supplies, clothes and essentials - which can make a huge dent in our family piggy bank. Before you head to the store, we've got some good back-to-school shopping reminders! 

-- Check out what you already have. Any notebooks still around? What about those No. 2 pencils? Look over what you need to get and the piles you still have leftover from last year.

-- Buy bulk. Especially when you have a few kids in school, bulk-buying pencils, pens, computer paper and stuff they all use can save you money. Think about it: they will need notebooks in December and January too. Stock up now with the good deals.

-- Check online. If you get free shipping from sites such as Amazon and Staples, see what kind of sales they may have.

-- Make a list and stick to the list. Use the list they teachers give and then sit down with your kiddo to add anything else she may think she will need. When you are shopping, stick to it. There will be loads of other items out there, on sale, that will attract your attention. By sticking to that list, you will stay on budget.

-- Hold off on some stuff until school starts. This is especially true for clothes (which we'll chat about tomorrow), but it goes for other items that she may not need right away. The prices will drop even more once the first day has come and gone.

How are you tacking back-to-school shopping? Share your hints here! 




  • ShannanAjluni
    August 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    We usually only buy the BASICS (backpack, binder, paper, dividers, etc) before school starts. Then after a week or two, the kids know what they really need (does a highschooler REALLY need colored pencils? Not usually) and what they don't and we stock up when all the back to school overstocj goes on sale.

  • squeekers
    August 6, 2012 at 12:24 AM

     buying in bulk is a wonderful since I use one for our kid and donate the duplicate to the school's office

  • jbyrd898
    August 6, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    what a great idea to hold off on what you can until after school starts. I used to do that all the time in college!

  • yvonne37
    August 6, 2012 at 7:57 AM

     checking what you already have is the first thing I do... my son tells me "here mom, these are the things I have left that I can use next year" and I put them away (pencils, pens, notebooks, lose paper, etc) My daughter starts first grade so she needs everything new.

    And then I do the last one... we hold off until about the second day of school. first they dont really need much the first day and second you get really good deals after school starts.

    I dont buy them bookcovers (like the material ones) I make them myself of we cover their books with recycled gift wrap.. they love it because they can decorate it as they please and its different.

    I grab pencils when their is a fair during summer... our town has about 3 fairs/parades during summer and they have vendors and booths with free stuff.. i grab all the pens and pencils i can (sometimes even rulers lol) then keep them for when school starts.

    Go to the $1 bins.. staples and target has them.

    If you have left over crayons and your children are small.. melt them! make new ones in cute molds.

  • Luv.My.Kidz
    August 6, 2012 at 8:10 AM
    I'm big on buying when there are sales and when stores offer gift cards or discounts etc I have about 75% of the kids supply shopping done and it cost me $20 for 2 kids one being in 1st grade and the other going into 6th
  • daerca574
    August 6, 2012 at 8:22 AM

     I usually just get the basics.  neither of my children have a list this year.

  • michiganmom116
    August 6, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    I know what's leftover from last year and what will need to be replaced.   I don't buy more than what we need.

  • MamaBear2cubs
    August 6, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    We are buying only the basics as well.

  • Bmat
    by Bmat
    August 6, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Wonderful idea!

    Quoting squeekers:

     buying in bulk is a wonderful since I use one for our kid and donate the duplicate to the school's office

  • starreyedcutie
    August 6, 2012 at 8:55 AM
    We make sure to look at ads for lowest prices on clothes and supplies

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