Back to school on a budget

We love when people contact us and have questions!  We were recently asked “Any advice or ideas for how to prep for school on a small budget?” Yes! Yes we do!  So without further delay:


  • Don’t go shopping until you get a list of supplies from the teacher.  Each class and each teacher require different supplies and tools.  Lots of supplies are actually provided by the school.  You should receive a list of items for your child to bring for themselves as well as donations needed for the whole class Remember, the whole class donations can be given later during the year. For example, wait until cold weather and buy tissues on sale to donate when runny nose season starts.  Don’t rush out and buy everything you think your child will need because you may end up spending more than necessary.
  • Back to school sales.  Staples, Wal-Mart, OfficeMax, Target, and many other stores have incredible back to school sales.  I have seen crayons, pencils, notebooks, and glue sticks for pennies!  Look at adds and listen for the best sales.
  • Reuse items from the previous year.  Lots of schools supplies are durable and can be used for a few years if not more.  Kids don’t need new pencil boxes and backpacks every single year.  Most backpacks are washable. If the backpack has no holes, toss it in the washer on the gentle cycle and be surprised at how much better it looks clean again. To convince your child to re-use an old back pack, add a small, inexpensive, clip on lip balm or hand sanitizer, etc to the zipper pull.  Take a look around your house and see what you can use again.
  • Go to thrift stores.  A thrift store is the perfect place to find great deals.  Yes, it takes more time and diligence, but you can save a great deal on clothes, shoes, backpacks, and more.  If you are willing to do some searching and invest some time you can save quite a bit.  Keep you eyes open for Goodwill’s  50% off everything Saturdays.
  • Ask your school about any programs and assistance they have available.Back to school  Many schools have help and programs you may not know about.  As a teacher, I was given a brand new backpack every year to pass along to a student in need.  My school also had a program that got brand new shoes for a number of students.  If money is extra tight make sure you explore the help that is out there and take advantage of the opportunities at your school or in your community.
  • Splurge on one item.  Discuss with your child what they think they need or want the most this year.  It may be a new pair of jeans, a backpack, sparkly pencils, or a Spiderman binder!  Let them be part of the decision making process then go get one really nice item that will get them ready for the school year.

Good luck!


2 thoughts on “Back to school on a budget

  1. Thank you for all the great tips! I like your idea of reusing an item from the previous school year but making it special by adding something new. I will also be contacting my school about any special programs–thanks for the ideas!

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