A month from now, my son will be back in school. High school, this time. I can’t believe my baby is 5 inches taller than me and finds what 14-year-old girls have to say WAY more interesting than what his 40-something-year-old mom has to say, but it’s true.
And as we gear up for another school year, supply shopping is on the “to do” list.
Here are some ideas that could save you some money – and maybe some time (the OTHER resource that always seems in short supply).
1. It’s all about the list. Don’t go shopping until you have it, and stick to it when you get it. You might end up buying the coolest pencil sharpener ever, but if it’s not required, your child might never use it. Also, avoid spending money unnecessarily by avoiding buying things not on the list. Sounds easy, but not so much…
2. Shop from the inside out. Before taking your list to the store, take it to your “miscellaneous” drawer (you know you have one). Pencils, pens, glue sticks…check your house to see what you already have hanging around before going out and spending your hard-earned money on items you’ve already paid for once.
3. Stock up – when it makes sense. Unless this is your child’s first year of school, or they attend school in some far off land where you have no idea what they’re up to, you should have a feel for how many times you bought colored pencils the year before (once), extra packages of college ruled paper (three times) and blue ball point pens (13 times). Don’t get all crazy and stock up with three of everything. There probably isn’t a need to buy more than one pair of scissors…but if you see binder paper on sale 4 for $1, stock up. When your child wakes you up at 4 a.m. because he forgot about a homework assignment due that morning and he’s out of paper, you’ll be glad you did.
4. Cheaper isn’t always better. Backpacks, book bags and lunch totes – which get hauled around daily and can take quite a beating – should be strong and sturdy. Spending a little more when you purchase a higher quality item that is built to last can save you money and time later.
5. Leave your child at home. You brave the mauling at the mall, and let your student enjoy the last vestiges of what was hopefully a great vacation filled with…well, not filled with school. Shopping with your child could cause you to come away with something not on the list. Since No. 1 on this list was to stick to the school supply list, you’ll find it much easier when you don’t have to fight the, “I want a $16 binder even though you found a similar one for three bucks” battle.
Angi Harben is the Director of Communications at Georgia Credit Union Affiliates and the proud and frazzled mom of a 14-year-old boy who is way too smart for his mom’s own good.